With everything in the three previous posts (1) (2) (3) we might find ourselves doing several things. The first is getting “high” on the Ahh state. The second is coming down and getting frustrated that we’re no longer feeling as good as we were. And the third would be to try and get back to the Ahh state. I’d like to address each of these point by point here so as to dispel any potential difficulties. I have had people come to me – after I shared the content in the previous posts – telling me that they got the Ahh space but ended up losing it. I’d like to help with this as I know it’s quite a common difficulty for us to face.
State and Space
Before getting into the nitty-gritty and tackling each point listed above, there is something which must be addressed. The first two levels of consciousness (Argh and Ohh – as detailed in the first of this series of posts) are states. What this means is that these states are the result of some sort of action – some sort of “doing”
When we are in the Argh state then we’re very identified with the ego and what it is offering. This means that we are inside the doing of the ego-mind. From this state, when we say “I am” we refer to the body, the identity/personality, life story and so on. In other words, from the Argh state we are identifying as the persona.
When we are in the Ohh state then we are less identified with the goings on of the persona but are still caught in the persona to some degree. In the Ohh state, we generate less suffering and more analytical thought than in the Argh state. From this state, when we say “I am” we refer to the Observing Mind. The Observing Mind is still form – it is still a limited aspect of what we are – but it is significantly less restricted in comparison to the Argh state.
The Ahh Space is not one of doing. Within the Ahh space nothing is done. The Ahh Space has no criteria or code of conduct. The Ahh space is what remains when we withdraw from the Argh state into the Ohh state and then withdraw from the Ohh too. The Ahh space is what remains when all else is gone. When we end up suffering as a result of doing what seems to us like “leaving” the Ahh space is when we – in our minds – have turned the space into a state. By which I mean, we turn the Ahh space into the Ahh state when we create some mental construct based on what we think the Ahh space is or should be. In so doing, the Ahh space is no longer simple formlessness but instead becomes a defined form. As such, it is then subject to the duality of this world of form.
The Duality Of The World Of Form
In the world of form we live in, for each form there is a contrasting opposite. Studying the Yin-Yang symbol takes us deeper into this understanding – for the sake of this post though, I’ll explain it a little further. In the physical domain, light and dark are both required for us to see things. The light bounces off objects and the darkness gives them definition. Without one, we cannot appreciate its opposite. When you go deeper, you realise that one cannot exist without it’s opposite. The nature of form is that it is always changing and altering. We breathe in, we breathe out. As a result of one form existing, another becomes a necessity in order to maintain balance. This is the dance of form. For every form, there is a contrasting opposite. We must realise then that this is not just true of physical form but it also mental form too. We experience happiness and sooner or later we experience sadness. We experience sadness and then sooner or later we experience happiness. Each emotional form has it’s contrasting opposite.
When we turn the Ahh space into a state (by putting it somewhere instead of realising that it is nowhere) then we subject it to the laws of form. As a result of doing this, it becomes just like all other form and this state essentially becomes the opposite to the Argh state. When we make create this Ahh state (instead of de-cluttering our mind and experience to reveal the constant Ahh space which is never not there) then we are still within the ego-mind and persona. As a result of this attempt to make the ineffable formlessness into some form, the experience of it becomes limited and we are always trying to grasp something out of a memory.
The Eternal Bungee
As we saw at the start of this post, what goes up must come down. Happiness will – in time – give rise to its opposite. Great happiness leads to tears; great sadness leads to laughter. We cannot escape this. Where there is form, there is a shadow cast. Even in the brightest of lights, shadows are cast when form is present. Darkness gives rise to light. Light gives rise to darkness. Where form is present, there is duality.
Two extremes arise from the same essence. The essence of death and birth is life. The essence of greed and generosity is having. The essence of loving and hating is familiarity. These can be seen from many different ways with any blend of vocabulary, what remains true is that two contrasting opposites have formed from the same essence.
When we list down all of these essential aspects of human life, we will see too that each has its opposite. The opposite of having is lack. The opposite of familiarity is foreignness. This goes on and on until it comes down to one foundational duality. This foundational duality is form and formlessness. The essence of which is space. Space has no opposite. Space is never gone or removed. Space is never destroyed or damaged. Space remains as all things tangible and intangible exist within space. This can be taken on too until one is satisfied that this is the truth.
Accepting this and realising too that the Ahh space (which is not form – it is not a state and has no identity) is not subject to the laws of form, we begin to see the truth of the following statements. “There is nowhere to stand.” “There is nothing to do.” With this, we realise that the eternal bungee of contrasting extremes becoming their opposites is simply the play of form. We can get involved in the play of form and become absorbed by it – then ending up fighting the unpleasant and craving the pleasant. Or we can observe the play of form and welcome every aspect of it from a place of the simple witness.
If we experience the Ahh space and then turn it into some concept (a state of mind, rather than a sense or experience) then it is likely that we’ll treat the Ahh space as just another state to be in. As a result of this treatment, the Ahh space becomes just another state on the list with happiness, sadness, frustration and so on. Then, because we have some idea of how this state looks (or under what circumstances it is present) we focus more on “getting back” into the state. The difficulty there would be that the Ahh space is not actually a state. Usually, states are constituted by the application of certain elements or circumstances. If we have too much work, a close deadline and a boss breathing down our next then we get frustrated. This is one example of circumstances generating a state.
In order to experience a state, we have to have something. But which I mean… If we have an empty space and then add a heavy workload, an imminent deadline and an impatient perfectionist boss into the space then the result is frustration or overwhelm (or something along those lines — the exact result would be dependant on the individual). If we have an empty space and then add tasty food, a funny film, warm lighting and someone to hug, we’d likely get comfort or cosiness. The difficulty with this formulaic generation of states when it comes to “Ahh” is that there is no amount of things you can add into a space to create the Ahh space. In fact, the Ahh space is what is left when the space is de-cluttered.
When we remove attachment to Argh and Ohh, we will no longer be subjected to the need for conditional requirements to generate pleasurable states. Instead all of this pleasure and displeasure will occur within a finite aspect of your experience and you will experience your awareness as the space in which all things occur.
When we try to “get back to the Ahh space” we are really trying to recreate a state which we are attached to some idea of. It would really be much more beneficial for us to, instead of clinging to more ideas, let go of these ideas and notice what happens (or, what doesn’t happen) when aren’t piling concept upon concept about how things should be or how we should be.
There Is Nothing To Do
When you recognise yourself as the space within which all things occur, you realise that there is nothing to do. This isn’t to say that we should become inactive in the world and just sit down and do nothing. The realisation is, in fact, two-fold.
“There Is Nothing To Do” means:
- There is not some new thing we need to add to our to-do list to get content and be free. This is not something to do. It is, in fact, the absence of doing. The removal of “I am doing this.” as a belief. There is nothing you need to do to get to where you want to get to. Instead, realise that the you that wants to get there is not you.
- When you realise that you (in your totality) are not the one who wants, needs, thinks, feels and so on, then the tight grip on doing loosens somewhat. Then it’s clear that “there is nothing to do” means more that what it seemed to mean before. It is clear that you are not the one who does. You are and there is doing.
When we identify with being the doer of things then we get caught in having something to do or achieving things or collecting things. If we are only trying to achieve things all the time then we must understand the opposite of success is failure. We will always fail as much as we succeed. The essence of failure and success is doing. Doing is always done. The dance is always danced. If you go believing you’re the dancer, suddenly the dance defines you. Suddenly every move is critical. Suddenly, it’s the end of the world when you can’t do the move you want to do. When we realise that the dance is simply danced and it will be always be danced, then we no longer invest in the dancing of the dance so much. Instead of being a dancer (“I am a dancer”), the dance is danced and you are there. The dance is and we are and that is all.
When we are not longer identifying with being the doing of things, then whether we are feeling high or low makes no difference. When we realise that, in our totality, we are not the persona that is feeling these things then instead of trying to force them to be something that they’re not, we welcome them in. Instead of “Oh no, I feel sad.” We just say, “Oh wow. Sadness.” and instead of “I feel happy. I want to feel this way for ever.” We just say, “Oh wow. Happiness.” It doesn’t take from the experience – in fact, it makes it richer – because instead of only experiencing one side of the coin fully, we are experiencing both equally. In so doing, though, we don’t get caught in only experiencing the emotions. After all, experiencing emotions fully doesn’t mean that the totality of our experience becomes emotional. We can enjoy watching fish swimming without getting in the water ourselves. As such, we can appreciate the nuances and complexity of both aspects. In so doing, Yin-Yang becomes fully realised. In so doing, it becomes clear that within good there is bad and within good there is bad. Notice that the black side of the Yin-Yang has a white spot in it and the white a black spot. Notice also that the entire symbol is itself a circle which fits into a larger version of itself.
The darkness is where the darkness is yet it holds it’s arms open to the light. The light is where the light is, yet it holds its arms open to the darkness. Both exist within space. Space graciously allows all things to exist within it.
As always, I hope this served you well.
Live, love and play