Many of us are feeling profoundly lost in face of the current Corona virus pandemic, with a deep sense of instability and insecurity emerging from the great challenges that present events pose.
In hope of reassurance, we look to our governments and world leaders, for a global consensus and unanimous strategy in the combat of the crisis – yet what we find is more division, controversy and contradictory positions.
But maybe ultimately, this is an outward reflection of how most of us feel deep inside.
Because in truth, even within ourselves we often feel rather torn between numerous ‘solutions’ for the complex issues that present themselves – adopting opinions, only to immediately revise them, when faced with a new fact or argument. Thus we end up oscillating between opinions and positions that often seem hard to reconcile with each other. And the sheer amount of information available can be so overwhelming, that we simply close down and withdraw in mental exhaustion. This does not only apply to the current pandemic, but to pretty much any complex issue in today’s world. Most of us live with a sense of being somewhat ‘bipolar’ in a world that just doesn’t add up anymore.
Global crisis bring home how desperately fragile the world – on which we base our sense of stability, inner security and the hopes for our wellbeing – really is.
We crave stability, wholeness and eternity (because somewhere intuitively we must know that this is our birthright), yet all ‘being a person in the world’ offers us, is constant change, separation, disease and death…
Sooner or later, it may dawn on us, that we are simply looking in the wrong place!
Traditionally, in times of widespread crisis, many people gravitate towards religion or faith for comfort and reassurance. While I wouldn’t advocate doctrines, or adopting religious beliefs (or any other belief, for that matter) – the movement towards the ‘inner world’, as hinted at by this, does point roughly in the right direction.
Esoteric traditions and mystics of the ages have been very clear about where to look for lasting peace, harmony and wisdom – namely ‘within’(granted that the ‘inside – outside’ dualism has it’s own inherent flaws). More importantly, it has been suggested that authentic liberation and true peace, comes from the realization (or better: recognition) of our real self or true nature (within). The (outer) world and it’s ever-changing phenomena – including our ‘personal address and name tag’ in that realm (meaning our assumed limited identity as a separate person) – in contrast, have been described as a somewhat less ‘real’ or even ‘illusory’.
On closer reflection, we may come to notice that the ‘dynamic duo’ – me (in here), and the ‘other’ (= the world ‘out there’) – has really never really delivered on the promise to give us an inner sense of security or harmony.
The reason being: it simply cannot. The only way we experience the world and a ‘me’ is through our mental faculty. In fact, the world is so intimately related to mind, that we cannot separate one from the other. In other words: The World IS MIND.
The mind is a ‘conceptual reality generator’, and its nature is a constant vibrating on a spectrum between opposites. It never stands still. Ceaseless change and instability is its modus operandi. And mind is dualism. Where there is one (thing), there must also be another (thing) – the counter part, or ‘other side of the coin’. You cannot have one, without inevitably bringing the other into existence as well! And the more ‘things’ there are, the more divided the mind becomes.
So, just as the world (and the separate, little ‘me’ in that world) is not the right ‘place’ to look for stability and harmony, mental activity is not the right toolfor the job either – it can only operate within the realm of mind / the world, but not in that which is PRIOR TO THE MIND!
That is why the non-dual message seems so complicated – when in truth, it is so incredibly simple. Too simple for mental abstraction; too simple to get the mind around it! Yet no mind is needed to simply recognize what IS. What could be simpler than that? What could be more simple than ONE?
The mystic branches all religious traditions – in their core teachings – point towards the same universal theme: the affirmation that the true nature of Reality – of all Existence – is characterized by Onenessor Non-Duality, and that this All-One-Ness is in fact who (or what) we really are; our very own Nature and Essence.
This assertion has become known as the ‘perennial philosophy’.
But what does this actually mean – in practical terms? And how can we make it relevant to our life and current situation – here and now?
Well, we can have a proper look, and follow a few clear and direct POINTERS – all the way through to the direct recognition and actual experience of that, which is being pointed at.
Here is a very clear, direct and descriptive pointer form the Dzogchen tradition:
‘Non-conceptual, ever-fresh, self-shining Presence-Awareness – just this and nothing else’
And another one from the Chhandogya Upanishad (= Sama Veda):
‘Tat Tvam Asi’ – THOU ART THAT
Could it be any clearer and more obvious?
What else can, or needs to be said about this?
And what better moment, than the challenging times we find ourselves in – to really take this to heart, and recognize our true nature as THAT?
On investigation, it might become clear that time actually doesn’t even come into it. The only moment this recognition can ever occur is in the present moment. If it is supposed to happen at any other time – well that simply won’t be the actual recognition itself, but merely a story about it. Time is mind. Presence-Awareness is neither in time, nor in space. It is beyond dimensions.
Granted, that there might be a strong pull to be ‘in the world’ (= in the mind / time), rather than to rest at the still centre, or hub of the spinning wheel. But even in the appearance of time (something along the lines of: small moments of recognizing yourself as Presence-Awareness, repeated many times) – the positive recognition of MYSELF as THAT, does instil a solid sense of stability, peace and harmony in our heart (and even our mind!) – one that does not depend on the world and its ephemeral phenomena in any way.
Be present, be aware. You cannot not be! It’s just that you might be focused on content – telling yourself a story about ‘me’ and ‘the world’.
Let being – meditating – seeing – recognizing be the focus!