All intelligence is a modulation and expression of the Great Intelligence. Just as a single leaf is no less tree than the branch or the trunk or the root. All is tree, all is creative intelligence.
Knowing the nature of one’s Being is sufficient to end suffering. In the light of our nature as boundless awareness, suffering is but a passing play and display of ideation and sensation. But on its own level the experience is real and can’t be dismissed with mere intellectual knowledge alone.
The difference between suffering and not suffering is the presence of the higher perspective. Problems aren’t solved, they’re transcended.
As Jung said:
“…the greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They must be so because they express the necessary polarity inherent in every self-regulating system. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.”
Also E.F. Schumacher:
“Divergent problems cannot be killed, they cannot be solved in the sense of establishing a “correct formula”; they can, however, be transcended. A pair of opposites—like freedom and order—are opposites at the level of ordinary life, but they cease to be opposites at the higher level, the really human level, where self-awareness plays its proper role. It is then that such higher forces as love and compassion, understanding and empathy, become available, not simply as occasional impulses (which they are at the lower level) but as a regular and reliable resource.”
While still in duality the seeker experiences the sense of in-and-out. It’s either absorption in the bliss of the Self in, say, meditation, or it’s the relative misery and unsatisfactoriness of day-to-day life predicated as it is on a sense of separation and authorship.
So the problem of duality isn’t solved on its own level, it’s solved by introducing the larger experiential context of boundless, formless awareness. By going beyond (or prior to) the duality and recognising that the seeming polar opposites in fact arise from and are part of this greater unified wholeness.
From the new perspective the old problem of duality no longer exists as such. Thus the solution is a new way of being, a new experiential perspective. In truth, even a new psychological perspective can radically change one’s experience of reality, for better or for worse. But fundamental recognition of one’s true nature is the real foundation for a life in freedom.
Liberation is the essential nature of what-is. Thus-ness or such-ness. What-is is inherently perfect exactly as it is. But suffering can arise within it as a function of judgements regarding what-is.
Two things to note here:
One — without mental judgements, relief from suffering is experienced.
Two — in time, even with judgements freedom is found to be present.
These are stages of the seeker moving from duality to nonduality. At first one finds relief from afflictive mentation in the gap so to speak. The first crack, the glitch in the Matrix, that space of silence that’s experienced when one thought has ended and another has yet to arise — a gap of peace is there when the mind is silent.
To most people who have lived their lives in and as the thought-stream, the glimpse of the gap is a profound revelation. It might happen spontaneously or it might happen in meditation or some other spiritual practice. And this silent, thoughtless space is such a great relief that it’s pursued as the end in itself. And this is perhaps a fair conclusion to make.
So, more and more the seeker pursues this experience of inner silence, but also makes a subtle mistake of the intellect. And that is the belief that thinking in itself is the problem, that only silence is truth and peace. Consequently when thinking happens suffering is present.
Fortunately this is a progressive realisation. First the gap is recognised and becomes the goal of meditative practice. But later it must be recognised that this gap isn’t itself a pole of a duality, opposite to thinking, but the ground of both. That the nature of the gap, the experience of silence, is where the thoughts arise from and appear in. And so abiding awakening is the recognition that the ground of silent, empty awareness is ever-present experientially, with or without the presence of thoughts, sensations, etc. (aka content).
Later the content itself is known to be nothing but consciousness also. That there’s no duality, no separation of subject and object. A singular, boundless wholeness. the unity of silence and dynamism.
So the progressive development of recognition and conception:
The gap (in and out) >> the ground (abiding silence) >> all one (unity of subject and object).
The biggest obstacle to this recognition is grasping based on fear, and is often unrecognised as such. Because the dualistic identity is constructed from impermanent phenomenal ‘parts’, we believe that we are some ‘thing’. So when through (often, but not always) spiritual practice we begin to see or at least suspect that the permanent existence of what we take ourselves to be is under threat, quite understandably the psychology kicks in to resist this. Fear of annihilation is a powerful reactive force and so any attempt to look at those places that would undermine one’s perceived existence is often violently opposed.
So the challenge for the ego- or thought-based seeker is to be willing to question and inquire, first and foremost.
The good news is that fear or not, the ego-based self isn’t permanent or real, and it’s not so much that the ego needs to be destroyed, as many claim or presume, but it simply must be seen from our true nature. In this nothing is lost except our limiting views of ourself. We discover that we don’t exchange the small self for the big Self, we just recognise that we are and always were the big Self and that the small self is also part of our expression. Win-win. Both/and.
All this happens and nothing is really being done, just conscious awareness coming to bear on the true nature of reality. “The seeing is the doing”. And from the perspective of awareness, it’s all just happening spontaneously. Life wakes up to life. Bit by bit, or sometimes all at once. And our conceptions and understanding are part of this process. They develop and unfold sequentially along with the Self-recognition.
What is important is clarity and the willingness to update one’s mental models in the light of experiential truth, however unwelcome or inconvenient to one’s present understanding or vested interests that might be. And so awakening is a radical commitment to truth, a fundamental orientation to reality itself. It’s not personal although it shows up that way at first.
“To find out what is, discover what isn’t.”
And vice versa.
So find a thread, an edge, a crack, then work on that. All lead to the wholeness. Find an in and pick away at it. Enlarge it, open it up. Until you’ve scratched it all away, shed all that you’re not, and you’re standing free, uncovered, raw, Thus.
One of the Buddhas epithets is the Tathagata, the one who has come (or gone) to Thus-ness, one with the already perfect. And so this is worth noting to those who imagine enlightenment to be some sort of superhuman attainment. It’s simply the living awareness of the nature what-is, as what-is. On a personal level it shows up as energetic openness, non-resistance, non-grasping, and the deepest acceptance.
So when seeking liberation, don’t stop short with the in-and-out of the gap, or the manageable duality of subject and object, of the Self as just pure consciousness or emptiness. The true I AM is ALL, awareness is subject and object, divine and human, as One.