The following is a letter from a reader (Tim) that addresses a fundamental misunderstanding. I hope this article helps to clarify it.
Tim: I never wrote to you before – read your blog occasionally.
One thing I’m surprised at though is the fact that you take anxiety meds – I would have expected realizing “the truth” would relieve emotional tension most of the time.
VF: Overall, there is less tension – much less. However, the “realization of truth” is always here and now – it never begins and it never stops and never ends – it is always fresh. There is no longer (this will be awkward, but I think you’ll get my point) the experience of an experiencer in this experience – Whew!
Tim: At the very least, I would say that like a spinning wheel coming to a stop, you will eventually not need it – what are your thoughts on this?
VF: I may or may not need it – no idea. Who is there to care? Don’t get too hung up on some idea of ‘realization’ and what happens or doesn’t happen because NOTHING HAPPENS! The body/life continues along as before AND it is totally different. Realization is seeing that there never was anyone here to ‘become realized.’ There is just this, now, here and no one to see it.
It’s interesting that this idea comes up, about the medication thing, isn’t it? Would you be surprised to know that I take a cholesterol-lowering medication? Would you expect that ‘after realization’ one should come to a point where it is eventually not needed? Notice the artificial division that is created. Thought does this all the time. Recognizing what you are at a fundamental level does not exempt the body from the need for food, water, air, shelter, warmth, etc. Same here – the brain is part of the body – an organ just like the liver or spleen – and it benefits a great deal from the anxiety medication (an antidepressant)… better living through chemistry!
Tim, you know, I think your phrase “spinning wheel” fits what I am trying to say: the experience used to be one of being the spokes and the wheel and feeling very ‘dizzy.’ Now, the spokes and wheel continue to spin, albeit somewhat more slowly most of the time, but it doesn’t matter because now I see that you and I and everyone else who ever took shape on this earth(and the earth, too) is also – and most fundamentally – the space in the middle of the spinning wheel and the space in which the wheel spins. Nonetheless, my ‘wheel’ has always been a bit ‘out of balance’ (just ask my wife) and the medication helps to create a much more pleasant experience.
I hope this is useful and I hope that anyone reading this who is ‘searching’ and struggling with depression or anxiety (or any other physical illness) will get the help they need – ‘you’ are already ‘realized’ anyway – ‘you’ just haven’t ‘realized’ it! There are no extra points for agony.