How Simple Can This Be?
Traffic sounds, bird songs, an airplane flying over, wind rustling the leaves,
a television in another room, children’s voices, a dog barking. Shapes, colours.
The movement of breathing, the sensation of contact with the chair, a cool
breeze gently touching the skin, a tingling in the feet, maybe an uneasiness in
the belly or a tightness in the throat, perhaps a vague sense of anxiety or
discontent, these words registering in the mind.
Does this present happening take effort, or is it all happening effortlessly by itself?
This moment is utterly simple and straightforward, totally obvious, completely unavoidable, effortlessly being just exactly the way it is, however that is. It may be painful or unpleasant, but there is nothing confusing about the present moment until we start thinking.
Then suddenly we begin to think (and believe) that we are a separate fragment disconnected from the whole. We feel lost and lacking. It seems as if we need to figure everything out and get somewhere better than where we are. We try desperately to improve ourselves and to succeed at being somebody. We fear death, imagining this bodymind to be something solid and persisting, something separate from the rest of the universe. We crave what we don’t have and resist what we are. Fearing the thought-created specter of meaninglessness, we search desperately for meaning, and the more we search for it, the more meaningless everything seems.
We try to think our way to liberation, and the more we think, the more tangled up in perplexity and uncertainty we seem to get. We try to get rid of the self but can’t seem to do it. We try to have a nondual experience (whatever we imagine that might be) and then we try to make that experience last forever, but instead what seems to show up again and again is disappointment and dissatisfaction, frustration and doubt.
Rather than trying to fix all of this or come up with some comforting new philosophy or some inspiring plan of action, can we wake up instead to what is utterly simple and totally effortless, the happening of this moment, just as it is?