Awakening: The Endless Holiday
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
In this post I would like to point to one of the countless implications of awakening, that is, your true nature is inherently peaceful and any discomfort represents an illusory veil laid on You by mind.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are none.”
- Adapted from Shunryu Suzuki -
We are used to fill our days up with different activities, appointments, tasks, responsibilities, relationships. We wake up in the morning and puff, the day is almost gone in a blink of an eye without really had the opportunity to have some time for our self. Activities that have the potential to connect us with our true nature, such as meditation, self-inquiry, yoga, types of martial arts and being in nature represent for us a plus, something that we have to dovetail with all other "most important" activities.
The problem for most of us is that even that small slot of free time available is occupied with useless activities that bring zero grow and awareness within us. We spend few minutes on Facebook or Instagram, other few minutes checking the news, then sitting on the sofa snacking, watching a movie on Netflix and our free slot of time is gone. I personally know how hard it is to commit oneself in doing something that implies some sort of self reflection. When I have started my journey 5 years ago I was still working in the laboratory and the only idea to go back home to meditate was painful.
Culturally, western people are most inclined to focus attention to what seems existing outside us and we are not taught the importance to look within. We are unconsciously taught to keep our mind constantly busy, that silence is weird, that meditation is for monks, that we need to play hard because life is too short, that we need to do and achieve things for a successful life. And we miss the important point that by doing so we alienate our self from our true nature and we inflict an enormous amount of suffering to our self.
There are mostly two reasons why people engage themselves in some sort of activities, no matter which one. The first one is out of suffering, the second one is out of Love.
Let's start with point number one.
Without even realizing it, most of us are constantly engaged in some sort of activities because we cannot stand being with our self. We need to spend time with technology, books, people, television and food because the simple idea to look within us creates immediate discomfort. Even the most spiritual or intellectual activities, such as practicing yoga and reading a good book might become a distractions from getting to know our self ("The "Do-Nothing" Meditation Technique", "The Vipassana Meditation Technique"). These activities are necessary to divert our personal suffering and discomfort away from our attention.
By being unconscious of who we truly are, we cannot see that all these activities are meant to serve only one purpose: to make survive the idea you have about yourself, to perpetuate this idea of you existing as a physical human being. In a nutshell, to keep the illusion alive. By doing these activities you have no time to self-reflect and look for the actual "entity" on behalf of who you are doing these stuffs. By keeping yourself constantly engaged you are missing the sneakiness and devilry of mind in keeping you in chain. This frenetic life prevents you from seeing the veil that every second is being put over You.
By identifying yourself with mind you will never be fulfilled and a constant sense of lack will be present in you, generating suffering. You know how it works: You do this and next you want to do that. You buy A and next you want to buy B. You go to Asia and next you want to go to Australia. It is an endless chase that will never take you anywhere. Have you ever stopped and thought why it is so?
Because you are identifying yourself with something, that is mind, which function is to move. Mind by definition is never quite and restful, like the wind. The job of mind is to be restless, to be an hurricane of creativity. The nature of mind is desiring and moving and if you keep your true nature glued together with mind your are bound to move and to be unsatisfied. If water overlooks the fact to be water, it will always believe and behave as if it was a wave.
Mind always looks for objects, it is always projected towards the external world, it wants to obtain and own stuffs. And the problem is that what it is looking for does not physically exist. It is made out of mind itself ("Objectivity Is Your Own Creation - Part 1","Objectivity Is Your Own Creation - Part 2","Objectivity Is Your Own Creation - Part 3","From the Illusion Of Matter To The Reality Of Consciousness"). Mind makes you believe that there is something physical outside you to be earned and it pushes you to get it. And since there is nothing physical out there, you are simply grasping air. Understandably this air does not really satisfy your appetite and you keep moving to get new air, over and over again.
You need to grasp once for all that what you are craving for is not represented by a physical object but by your own subjective faculties, that is, mind. There are no books out there but simply the concept of a book, the feeling of touching a book, the sight of a book that all together create the illusion to own a physical book!
There is nothing wrong in reading a book unless you are doing it to avoid the pain within you. The book after a week or a month will be forgotten, but the suffering and the emptiness within you will stay forever if you do not face them. And believe me, sooner or later those feelings will re-emerge once again to threaten you. At least until the next book.
Let's have a look now to the second point.
The second and most noble reason you want to engage in whatever activity you like is the desire to express your true nature. You are inherently peaceful and you do need to do anything at all to feel complete or satisfy. You are That from which mind seems to arise to be able to experience the world from a specific point of view. In your pure form you cannot do much but being yourself. Therefore you have decided, for no particular reasons but the love of expression, to limit yourself in a specific form to experience and to get to know yourself by (apparently) arising in the form of mind from which a physical world seems to exist.
From this perspective and understanding, activities are simply a creative process that have no particular reason to exist. Your engagement in these activities represents simply the love or passion in manifesting something out of You. It becomes a beautiful process of creation rather than an attempt to cover the shit that has been created through the identification with the mind. I am sure everyone is familiar with doing something that we love, something that we are passion about and we simply lose track of time. This experience represents the unveiling of your true nature, that is timeless, rather than being identified with mind out of which time seems to exist.
The irony of this realization is that engaging in activities from the point of view of suffering (first point), activities such as meditation and yoga seem more spiritual and more worth to be pursuit than eating a sandwich or having a shower. They make you appear more in contact with reality. This is the mind that labels and classifies reality as if there are objects or activities to be classified. This process represents a sneaky attempt of mind to keep you chained in the illusion of being something in particular by refining your tastes. Instead of drinking beer, you are now drinking champagne but you are still drinking! Before drinking understand who is drinking and then you are free to drink whatever you want.
Awakening will make you realize that there is not a hierarchy in reality, there are not really more noble activities to be pursuit. They all represent an expression of you, no matter how cruel and worthless this activities are. But be careful. What I have just said is easily misunderstood by the mind that is a champion in committing devilry. If you truly understand what I am talking about, you will simply express the highest actions out of you because you have understood that you do not need to survive. Mind has.
Discovering who you truly are will make you realize that there is only the present moment, the Now. And that this place does not need anything at all to be complete. Now is another term used to define your true nature, Consciousness, Nothingness, Being. By realizing who you are, you will not need to take anymore a single day of holidays in your life. Holidays are taken to escape and to have a break from your current experience of suffering.
We go somewhere else in order to leave our problems behind us. We do not realize that objective problems are not waiting for us out there but they are created by our own mind. Being at the beach drinking a mojito might appear to be the reason of the relief from our suffering. We tend to erroneously conclude that our problems were caused by others. No. This transitory lack of suffering is not due to the presence of a sandy beach but by a transitory switch off of our mind that allows your true nature to make its appearance from time to time.
It is your subjective way of relating to reality that has changed.
The power of awakening relies in understanding that there is no difference between being at the beach and paying your bills, unless you think there is, unless your subjective experiences create the idea that bills are worst than sand, an idea coming from survival. Not easy to put in practice but this is the reality of what we are doing. We create our own reality and if we create hell it is normal we feel the urge to go to some earthly paradise.
This way of reasoning will not help you in the long term because you are not dealing with the root cause of suffering, that is, what you think to be. You need to realize that you are That which creates all your subjective experiences, all the distinctions within yourself. The real You comes before any thought, emotion, feeling and perception ("Look Within You", "Neti-Neti: Who Am I?", "No-Self: The First Step Towards You"). And this "place" represents real peace and freedom.
The Presence within you is the place you are. It represents the place where you can go to at any time without taking any trains, buses or flights. It is a place always present no matter where you are because it is what allows any experience to arise. It is the endless holiday. You just need to go beyond your subjective experience and look for That which allows those experiences to arise.
I would like to stress that this "place" is not a mystical place that you can only reach by sitting and meditating for days and days. This very first step in realizing that your are That, the witness or the observer, is the most natural and effortless one. You just need to step back from your mind and simply realize that there is "someone" that is conscious or aware of your thoughts, emotions, feelings and perceptions. Only then further steps can be achieved to fully unfold the magic of life.
For reasons that are still unknown to me, I have personally cared to get to the very bottom of reality and of myself more than anything else. After I finished my PhD I committed myself in finding this truth at any cost. I had the luck to relate quite immediately with some ideas taught in some books I was reading that claimed that there was a possibility to wake up from an hypothetical illusion that was causing my own suffering. During these years I have traveled in many places, I have seen incredible nature but nothing was worth than the journey within myself. The irony of this journey is that I did not have to travel the world to get closer to myself, that there was not a place where I could find peace.
As the character in a movie cannot really detach and be separate from the screen ("Action, It Is Movie Time"), we cannot escape our nature of being Presence, Consciousness, Now. The looking for, the searching, the movement are mind activities that prevent to see the obvious.
Thanks for reading.