Those of us who have been on the spiritual path, for even a short time, have a lot in common. Perhaps the deepest and most profound of these commonalities is also the most elusive. Because it is so prevalent in our consciousness, it is a real trick to become aware of it. It just seems as if it is a part of us, a part of who we are.
It seems to me that many of usl carry around a goal, some state we must attain, some achievement we need to accomplish, some realization that needs to be realized, before we can ever relax, before we can feel true peace, before we actually arrive “there.”
This morning, I am experiencing this as a sort of fog. It’s like a residue in the mind, a vague yet omnipresent feeling that my entire life is being lived within the confines of this fog.
It feels as if the search, as I have referred to it in previous posts, is a way I am trying to emerge from this fog. But that is a fool’s errand; taken on its face, I can never escape through searching, as the search is what maintains the fog in the first place.
This morning, as I write this, I have been able to feel this fog as it actually feels in my awareness. Fog is the right word here. It is a context for my entire life. The borders of this fog are the borders of my judgements. I measure myself according to how close I am to breaking out from the borders of this fog. Judgements are therefore built-in to this dynamic. But like a physical fog, the borders will keep shifting – they are vague and undefined. The only thing I can count on is that I will never cross over to the other side of this fog, that the search will continue unabated.
The foundation of this particular machination of the mind is the idea of enlightenment as a goal to be achieved. I must become enlightened in this lifetime. No time to waste, do the right thing that will get me there. What a joke we have played on ourselves! Really, I marvel at the genius of it. The one that is searching so hard is never going to achieve that goal. The actual goal is to continue searching! Who is doing this searching anyway? Oh yeah, it’s the one who will never get there. Really, pure genius. It’s the most incredible maze imaginable.
Perhaps I’m afraid of seeing through this fog for some reason. Would I see that what I have given so much importance and bestowed so much meaning to is basically meaningless? That life itself has no meaning? That I would have nothing to compare myself to, to judge my progress by, that I would be floating around in some pointless, empty void? Of course, that is from Paul’s point of view, from the point of view of this “I.” That is what “I” fear, that if this fog didn’t exist, neither would the “I.” That it can’t exist outside the context of the search.
All that would exist would be, well, existence, whatever that is. The past and future would exist only as concepts. The present moment would be everything – nothing to attain, nothing to achieve, no enlightenment to run after, no more racing around on a spinning wheel to nowhere.
I do feel afraid of this prospect of truly being present to life, yet I know that emerging from this fog is happening. It is happening right now. Not through any effort on my part – it is just what is happening. Truly experiencing and appreciating life is happening.
Freedom is happening.