Space. Presence. The thing-less thing between all things. What is without being. It seems to be a paradox for the thinking mind. In one of the weekly satsangs I host, we began with the insight, “there is nowhere to stand.” On the face of it – to the intellectual, conceptual thinking mind which is so invested in standing somewhere – this seems untrue. Yet, it is about as true as it gets outside of the linear context of thought pertaining to physicality. It’s about as true as it gets when you’re not thinking about “you” being your body.
In The Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, he talks about the root of all suffering (or, stress – depending on how you interpret it) being what most call “attachment”. As soon as someone says “attachment causes suffering”, a lot of people would throw their hands in the air and submit to suffering then. In fact, when I was reflecting on this a little more yesterday, I (in spite of my devotion to the releasing of suffering and illusion) had a flashing vision of myself being one of the monks at The Buddha’s first sermon after his enlightenment. The Buddha explained the nature of dukkha and I threw my hands up in contempt and left. It’s ironic then that now I am here with this body and this life story and situation and am again working closely with The Buddha to release suffering.
Yesterday, Rosa and I spoke in depth about our future together, where we would be living and the legal requirements of me staying here in Mexico. All of which are things which brought nervousness into our experience. When we finished the conversation, I retired to our bedroom and meditated on this for a while. I sat there in observation of this nervousness. In practice recently I have been observing unique – almost visual – energetic movements of each particular emotion as it glides into and out of “what is”. During one such episode, I experienced the visual of spinning knives in relation to an emotion. Yesterday, the experience was of an erratic concentration of energy which seemed to have nowhere to go.
Laying on the bed, I went through a series of surrenders. I surrendered the attachment to the perceived difficulty of the experience. I surrendered the attachment to having things turn out how I wanted them to. I surrendered the attachment to any inclinations or outcomes. When all was gone, I surrendered my self to the surrendering and drifted into a dreamless sleep. When I awoke, I was hot and sticky. My head felt stuffy and I was parched with a sore throat. Once again, I observed my self become very involved in the suffering of my body. My mind had let go of the specifically mind-made suffering and has taken it upon itself to become identified with the body’s suffering instead. I watched as this occurred without ever really believing that I was the one who was the one with excessive heat, a sore throat, sticky skin, a stuffy head and so on. There was simply excessive heat, sticky skin, a sore throat, a stuffy head… There was discomfort but it wasn’t mine, nor was it me who was feeling it.
I watched as my persona strived to solve its discomfort with a glass of cold water. Then, when that didn’t help, I watched it get undressed and climb into the cold running water of the shower. While all of this was going on, I was simply there without attachment. I wasn’t my body, nor my mind yet they were me. For lack of a silent, wordless method of communicating this experience to you, I could say that it was a sense that my body and mind were both conditional, fragmented, compounded things and I was simply witnessing it all transpire. This experience is not something new for me and I doubt it is something new for you either. In fact, this is the core fundamental human experience when we cease to cling to the impermanent forms of the world – what, in Taoism, is called “the world of ten thousand things.”
And out of the space – from within the total silence which was the stage on which all of this dance was occurring – a phrase arose… “You think that’s your suffering? People are suffering all over the world.” And shortly after, another followed it, “Look for me in my story and you will not find me. I exist beyond and before any story of any life.” Needless to say, I laughed and proceeded to surrender once more to The Buddha. In the shower, I took each splash of water as a blessing from the great guru.
There is nowhere to stand. If we do not want to suffer then we must realise the truth of this statement. For as long as we attempt to stand anywhere, we cling and so are not surrendered to what is. If we are not surrendered to what is – in its simplicity – then we are clinging to form. And form is subject to time and the rate of decay – meaning, no form lasts. When we stand in our body, we suffer at the hands of physical harm or injury. When we stand in our mind, we suffer at the hands of imposed meaning, mental positions (to use Eckhart Tolle’s words) and the disagreements of others (and on and on). But then when we try to stand in superiority or permanent transcendence, then too we find ourselves suffering. This is because we have tried to stand outside of aspects of our own reality. By this I mean that to deny our bodies and our minds is to deny aspects of what is – to deny what is, is to cultivate suffering rather than to be free of it. We cultivate suffering through denying what is because by doing so, we attach ourselves to a mental position which is identified with being somehow better than or higher than the suffering…
So, it’s gets confusing here, right? Let’s strip it back a bit… Consider, “high and low”. (And, as I say in most often in satsang, “breathe this in and breathe it out”. Don’t develop another belief structure around the words I am using – they are merely a vehicle for understanding and not the understanding itself.)
High is “I am not a human. Everything is perfect as it is and it’s all just wonderful.”
Low is “Look at all this suffering. I need to fix this. Look at my bills and my workload” and so on.
The issue is you can’t stay high forever because there are aspects of you which are a body and a mind. These aspects are participating in a human life and will, sooner or later, require you to do something. And you can’t stay low forever because that’s when illness happens, or when people top themselves.
“So then,” the mind asks, “where do I stand?”
And that’s exactly it, there is nowhere to stand. The trick is, you realise that it’s all just a dance and that sometimes the dance seems real and sometimes it’s clear that’s a dance. But it’s still a dance. It’s a game we’re all playing and trying to win without realising that to win this game means – to the part of us that is concerned with winning – total annihilation. So, to win you lose and to lose you win. To stand anywhere, you’re swept of your feet.
In my experience, there has been a key phrase which has returned time and time again of late… “Your body, your mind, your thoughts, your ideas, beliefs, wants, needs, likes, hates… all of it… All of that, in its totality, is you. But you, in your totality, are not it.” Sit with that for a moment and allow yourself to surrender to it.
I appreciate that what I have been writing and putting out in videos of late is rather different from what I used to. There has been some anger expressed towards me in relation to this inconsistency. I can assure you that the only consistency you will experience from me is consistency in inconsistency. I am committed to the surrendering of illusions and suffering, not to consistency. You could say, “I have integrity, not consistency.” That’s one way of looking at it. As my journey continues, my experience changes and changes and changes, with it my personality, beliefs and so on do also. To cling to beliefs is a sure-fire way to suffer. That is what I have experienced.
As such, with The Buddha as my guru, I surrender, surrender, surrender, keep going, keep going, keep going. And along the way, I trust that all I do will aid someone in some way. The life I lead is not just for me but for all who benefit from it. I do as I do in the name of freedom from suffering.
I hope this post has served you well.
All the best,
Live, love and play.