The beginning and end of this whole existence and the arena of ‘The Work’ and the unfolding of the so-called ‘process of awakening’ is this present moment. The past shows up here as memory, the future as imagination. Cognition, mentation, sensory arisings, all happen here. It’s this now-ness, this such-ness that constitutes Reality. And liberation is nowhere if not Now.
So Reality is ever-present awareness of ever-changing phenomena.
And in terms of our suffering/happiness, we must recognise ‘certain’ truths about the nature of reality, the consequence of which suffering as such ceases to arise.
It can be said that clinging and grasping are the proximal causes of suffering. But what ultimately causes clinging and grasping is the ignorance of the true nature of things or ‘wrong views’.
Because of our ignorance or ‘wrong views’ we seek permanent identity and happiness in the conditioned field of reality. But the true nature of the conditioned field is impermanence. So any attempt to grasp it, to cling to it leads to suffering in many forms: frustration, anger, fear, grief, etc.
So it’s ignorance of this fundamental impermanence that leads us to attempt to cling, because in our misguided ignorance we feel such an effort would be possible and fruitful.
In the same way the attempt to establish or find a permanent ‘self’ or identity in the conditioned field is out of kilter with reality. But in our ignorance we continue to try and we continue to fail, inevitably.
So the ‘answer’ to our suffering is the deep recognition of certain facts about reality. And with that recognition, all efforts to ‘do the impossible’ — i.e. to create a permanent self from impermanence and to find lasting happiness from perpetual change — fall away.
The corollary of this is that when the striving and seeking in regard to the conditioned field of phenomena fall away, the ever-present nature of the unconditioned field of consciousness is cognised as the ground of one’s being. The subjective experience of which is freedom from suffering, peace of mind, easefulness of being, deep acceptance and natural joy.
I feel that awakening is less about psychological health per se and more about recognising the nature and mechanisms of suffering. I’d say that it’s about psychology to the extent that the ego resists, obstructs and avoids (sometimes violently) the simple ‘seeing’.
Since our awareness-nature transcends the ‘person’, we don’t have to ‘fix’ the person to be free. In fact it’s a great relief to find that awakening is the total acceptance of our messy and broken ‘selves’.
And if there seems to be a contradiction the idea of transcending the person and at the same time accepting it fully, I’d say that our freedom is about both/and and not either/or. Awakening is the discovery that we are awareness-nature itself. But the person, the me, is also showing up as an expression of that nature, and needs to be fully welcomed and accepted.