teisho 1286 (2012)
Nisargadatta says: “All experience is transient, but the ground of all experience is immovable.”
Any experience, no matter how sublime, how profound, how revealing, is still an experience, and as such it is not the ground of experience. We cannot experience reality. Reality is not a quality, like a colour, a shape, or a sound. When we talk about the world, we talk about reality. The world is reality. This is not to say the world is real. Awakening is reality, we do not awaken to reality. Awakening is the world, the world is awakening. As long as you believe that there is awakening, and then an experience, an insight or self that one awakens to, one is lost in an illusion. All experience is transitory, but you are not. You do not come and you do not go.
We have the question, “What am I?” and in that question lies a trap. And in fact it is to set the trap that the koan is given. We ask “what am I?” and the implication is that there is an I or I am to be found, to be awakened to, or to be discovered. And we determine to solve this problem in the same way as we have dealt with and solved so many problems in life. But it is this method of resolving problems that has tied you up into so many knots. To continue in that same vein will only entangle you more.
Nisargadatta says: “nothing that may be called an event will last. Some events help purify the mind and some stain it, adding more confusion.”
It is difficult to come to awakening because you are not prepared to question your basic assumption, which is ‘I can do it.’ It may be difficult, it may take a long time, but I can do it. If that is not the way, if that leads into a blind alley, what is a viable alternative? This is the question. This is what you should be asking when you ask ‘What am I?’ What is a viable alternative to ‘I can do it’? How can you see into what is really meaningful? What is really worthwhile?
Most people do not know that there can be an end to pain. Does that mean an absence of pain? Awakening is the end of that sense that I am something and that something is pain. There is nothing to do, just be. The condition of timeless perfection, to which nothing can be added and nothing taken away, is your state right now. This is you right now. You simply change stations, like when you have a radio and the programme is very poor, so you change stations. The radio stays as it always has been, you simply tune into a different wavelength. This is what is meant when it is said that there is nothing that needs to be done. You don’t have to take the radio to pieces or buy another one, the radio stays the same.
The aroused mind is not something you can make happen, it is your natural state. What you can do is cloud the aroused mind, bring about a tangle of yes and no. And all your efforts to come to awakening simply cloud the mind more. Just be. There is no technique or practice to do this. It is the immediacy, a fearless jump into the truth that is called for. Just be.