Yesterday I read a profound piece by one of my favorite authors, Jeff Foster, entitled: Awakening From The Dream Of Nonduality
I want to share a part of Jeff’s writing here and I encourage all my readers to read his entire essay if this excerpt captures your interest as it did mine:
Life gently whispers, always, “How deeply can we meet?”
What interests me these days is not the ‘event’ or story of awakening, but how that recognition of who we really are moves in our lives. Yes, you may have no self, and yes, you may recognize that there are no others. But those are just words, right now. Tell me, how does that knowing move in your intimate relationships, with your partner, your mother, your father, your loved ones, your friends and acquaintances on Facebook and in the workplace? When someone disagrees with what you say, do you rush to defend a conceptual position, an image of yourself, or are you able to stay radically open, deeply listening from a place of nonresistance? Or do you feel hurt, and rush to hurt someone back? Do you feel attacked, and rush to defend yourself, forgetting that who you are is never an image, and doesn’t need defending? Do you remember that who you are is the vast ocean, always deeply at rest, always deeply allowing the upsurge of thoughts and feelings? Or do you fall back into some spiritual cliché, spouting words like “there is no me” or “choice is an illusion”, secretly suffering and boiling with hurt and anger but unwilling to take a fresh look at that? Have you come to conclusions, or are you willing to drop all conclusions and look again? Are you willing to drop all stories about yourself, including the story that you are awakened, and meet this moment as a dear friend to be embraced, rather than an enemy to be rejected?
Are you able to meet the one in front of you, and for a moment, not try to fix them, or heal them, or spout nondual clichés at them, or try to win some argument, proving your identity? How deeply can we meet?
While Jeff wrote this primarily for those who embrace non-dualistic teachings, I find his words can apply to everyone on any spiritual path.
I have studied mystics from all spiritual traditions for years. One common discovery those seeking enlightenment or awakening share is that enslavement to the ego must be overcome in order to experience the freedom or communion sought. True spiritual masters having experienced oneness with all of creation refuse to be subservient to the ego-driven mind. Followers of these profound teachers often glimpse the truth that the ego-based interpretation of the world is illusory, but many stop at that point in their growth. The minute the ego is given the opportunity to reassert itself, it creates a new identity and begins reconstructing a new story, which includes the recent revelations. Upon inventing this renewed sense of self, the ego immediately reestablishes its sense of separation and specialness. It begins defending its newfound truth and oftentimes seeks to share this new knowledge with all those less aware, less informed. This behavior is prevalent in spiritual neophytes but it also appears in those seekers who reach a certain plateau and believe they have arrived.
There is no arrival, there is no “getting it” to be had in the true spiritual quest. Being open, present, and aware is not some destination to be obtained; it is a moment by moment way of living. Any thought of having obtained some higher level in some imaginary spiritual hierarchy exists only in an ego-defined structure which has no basis in reality. It can exist only in a perceived reality which is illusory.
Regardless of the path you have taken, regardless of the spiritual traditions you have utilized to guide your journey, you can replace Jeff’s non-dual terminology with your own and you will recognize that the challenges of which he speaks, face us all. Being real, being authentic requires you to show up as an open vessel of Love, not as Johnny answer man or as Mr. Fix-it. Open, loving beings have no hierarchy; therefore they cannot possibly feel qualified to judge another as being in need of repair.
Being is not some mask or some charade which can be flaunted by the personality. Love never needs to defend itself, because it can never be attacked. To be attacked requires a personality to experience the attack. The personality arises from the field which is Love, not the other way around. Love simply is. It has no work to do. It is in owning this Truth that freedom is inevitable.
When the ego raises its head and says “I did this” you have no work to do. Simply BE the Love you are with your pleading self and with every ‘other’ you happen to perceive. The ego’s voice is just another thought. Love is Aware of thought but is not its servant.
Peace is yours when you remember that you are Love. Remember this Truth, in your moment to moment experience and you will never want for anything again.