Waking Up from the story of our life
with Enza Vita
I keep reading conflicting advice from spiritual teachers. Some tell us that practice is necessary while others says that it is not. It is all so confusing...
Some paths and teachers say there is nothing that we, the apparent person we believe to be, can do towards the realization of our true nature but as long as there is identification with this apparent person, saying that there is nothing to do is simply deluding ourselves, adding a veneer of lofty thoughts over some uncomfortable truths that we still haven’t had the courage to face head on. We are now in an even worse situation than we were before we started seeking.
With the denial and suppression of our suffering, we now don’t even have the possibility to investigate it and understand its nature. We are now truly stuck in a world where apathy and fear are mistaken for peace and freedom. Sooner or later however, our suffering will resurface in full measure and force us to confront what we think we have left behind.
Emptiness is not an escape from form. Rather form is the “apparent” veiling of emptiness. This realization leads to the understanding that “there is nothing to do and no-one to do it” but when this is directly realized, not just intellectually understood, it becomes our own unshakable knowledge, where every experience is only the knowing of Consciousness knowing itself. Then we no longer see a division between duality and transcendence.
The natural consequence of awakened beingness is a clear and simple expression of awareness that never fixates in any realm of experience. If we find ourselves in a state where something is excluded, that state, however amazing it is, is still a dualistic state.
I have just finished reading a book by a famous teacher and he says that there is nothing we can do to awaken. If we truly knew that there is nothing we can do to become enlightened, what would we do?
Some teachers tell us to “be in the NOW’ or to “surrender” but what does this truly mean?
“Just leap into the unknown” some others say. More good advice because that IS the process, but where exactly do we leap from?
In our day-to-day life, we are almost always habitually involved with thoughts and projections, constantly trying to manipulate whatever comes up in our life experiences by either moving toward the ones we like or moving away from the ones we don’t.
The thoughts themselves are not the problem. The problem is that we are constantly reacting to them and so every thought that arises in the mind continually distracts us, “seemingly” obscuring our true nature - natural awareness. By natural awareness here I refer to our true naked nature, stripped bare of these movements of the mind.
Since the mind depends on this constant movement for its continued existence, one of the practices I teach, Instant Presence, is to be internally still and undistracted. This actually means to leave everything that arises in our experience (thoughts, sights, sounds and sensations) as it is, without manipulations or strategies. We simply relax in the present moment without trying to improve it, correct it or replace it.
This is not a passive surrender but a letting go to being totally present and totally relaxed at the same time, without any artificiality or manipulation. Instead of our usual habit of grasping and making the moment solid, we open, dissolve and “let everything be”.
The words “relaxing into it while maintaining alertness” seem to point to a mind-made effort, but what I’m talking about is to leave the mind as it is, without giving it anything to do.
We don’t strive to reach some “amazing goal” or some “advanced state.” Nor do we use the practice to “go deep into ourselves” or to withdraw from the world.
Instead, we just trust, connect, and realize what is already here.
By familiarizing ourselves with this understanding again and again, it eventually transforms into direct experience but we don’t stop here because even experience is not very stable in the worlds of time and space. We can become confused again by getting caught up in our thoughts and emotions once more and so we need to keep going with our practice until our experience transforms into a deep realization that can never be lost.
What is the difference between experience and realization?
The experience is when you experience being awareness. Realization is when you experience nothing else.
If everything is an illusion, why bother trying, improving or aspiring? Some teachings encourage us to identify as awareness and detach ourselves from the messiness of ordinary life. I prefer to see our everyday life as the all-inclusive Awareness and I encourage the deep descent into the ordinariness of our life so that we can realize that enlightenment doesn’t exist just up there in the Sacred World but right here in every experience of our sometimes messy life.
Enlightenment is the realization that the True Self, the Ultimate Source is always present in and as EVERY experience and it is the actual dissolving of the imaginary separation between transcendental and ordinary, between us and IT.
As the metaphor of the Ocean and the wave, feelings, thoughts, objects, subjects, including this body-mind we believe to be, is nothing other than the movement, the wave of the one, whole, undivided Ocean.
With the Ocean, we can easily see that every wave IS the Ocean, and that no wave could possibly be better or closer to the Ocean than any other wave. We can also see that the Ocean is always changing: calm placid waves can quickly change into violent stormy ones but everything is the Ocean.
There are different waves that we call Enza or John or computer or desk but there’s no permanent, solid independent separate wave: it’s all one Ocean, one seamless whole.
For the wave, the Ocean is inescapable. There’s no need to find it, remember it, become it.
Every wave is the Ocean. Everything right here now is the Ocean. These words are the Ocean. You are the Ocean. There is only the Ocean.
Enza Vita is the editor of InnerSelf Newspaper and founder and director of the MahaShanti Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the awakening of all beings. Enza is the author of the book Always Already Free. Based on Enza’s own experience, Always Already Free, guides the reader from the seeking process through the integration of enlightenment into everyday life and reveals that spiritual enlightenment is not a faraway dream, but the ever-present reality always available here and now.