I feel there’s a common discrepancy in spirituality, and one which I myself was “guilty” of for a long time, of mistaking beliefs and thoughts for truth. By that I mean, mistaking thoughts about love, God, the whole thing, for the real deal. All I can say is that you’ll KNOW when you feel it, there won’t be any doubt, because the very thought that doubts is below or less-than (so to speak) love, or what I’m talking about. And it isn’t anything like what you think it’s like, it can’t be, it’s beyond that.
In my experience though, and this is sort of a warning, you may come to a very, very scary place if this is what you really think you want. Maybe some people get it no problem, but I know the emptiness of experience that comes with knowing truth scared the bejeesus out of me (and still does sometimes!). I’m not talking about an abstraction here, it’s emptiness on a very deep level, as intimate as you can get.
What it basically boils down to is that we grow up and become firmly rooted as an identity whose fundamental basis is “getting things.” The very root of identity is a kind of “collecting,” it’s a hoarding of memories and thoughts and feelings, and we’re convinced on a bodily level that that’s what we are. But, of course, that’s not at all what reality is about, not at all! And if you look around you’ll wonder how you ever missed it. It’s very in-your-face!
There is fundamentally nothing to get here, you will get nothing from life. No one ever has in the history of existence, and each life is basically like a sandcastle that gets built up only to be knocked back down into sand again by the ocean. That’s very obvious if we’re honest with ourselves, and YET… notice that almost everything humans do is based on this false assumption that there’s something to get?
Ever notice how you never really get anything out of your “spiritual experiences” except a story to tell yourself and others? It may even be accompanied by a feeling of satisfaction or security, a certain hidden pride. But I’m not just knocking spirituality, the same goes for every experience, bar-none. Reality is literally what you make of it!
Sorry! It can be a real shocker, I know.
But if this really hits home, and this is the light at the end of the tunnel so-to-speak, an incredible love and wisdom shines through. It frees up an incredible amount of energy that’s been wasted on the impossible task of extracting something out of nothing (ha!), and suddenly, miraculously, the incredibly perfect joy of everything is plain to see. Like, last night I stared at the cracks in the ceiling for forever, just in sheer awe. There’s nothing to get here and no one to get anything, and there’s also nothing to die, only experiences and the possibility that those experiences may become more free.
This is what the Buddha was talking about when he said salvation, it’s not the salvation of someone from something, it’s the salvation of reality from having to be either of those things. In a sense, it’s the only true mercy, and even then, not even “salvation” is serious, because even Buddha died like everyone else. Awareness loses itself in the dream and awakens and loses itself in the dream and awakens over and over and over forever, it doesn’t care, so it’s up to you if you want to realize this or not, no one’s going to make you!
It can be a helpful exercise to imagine if, in the next moment, you were to die and everything you know now came to an end, like waking up from a dream. For me, the more I do this, the freer and lighter things become, more playful. For, as Alan Watts was fond of saying, life is NOT serious!
“Angels fly because they take themselves LIGHTLY.”
Take care and be well,