VF: Hello Sam – good hearing from you again. I’m sorry this response is so late in coming, but I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything other than my “paid” work recently.
Sam: Thank you for your prompt and generous response.What I get from your reply is that the endless flounderings of my personality are beside the point, and the only thing that matters is to see who is seeing, NOW.
VF: Yes; but you’re not going to leave it there, are you?!
Sam: Again it’s my smart intellect getting it all ‘intellectually’ while going on much the same way as before, but am I right in assuming that what I am as a person doesn’t matter, that I can be good or bad or indifferent, the only thing is to SEE that it’s all a mythical self, and so not different from Mother Teresa or Hitler, or you?
VF: It isn’t that what “you” are as a person doesn’t matter; it is that there is no you, no person. The believed-in “person” Sam, whom you mistakenly take yourself to be, doesn’t exist other than as a swirling, buzzing, vaporous group of thoughts and sensations that arise presently. There really is no one to choose good, bad, or in-between. It happens that seeming choice may arise in this simple, unbroken, space that we are, but there is no choice in whether or not a seeming choice arises or is made (by no one).
Sam: One thing that has bothered me about being undifferentiated consciousness is how, if everything is awareness, there is no difference between me and a piece of wood, both are equally enlightened, and so what is the point of it all?
VF: This is only an issue for the believed-in separate person, the idea of an independently existing individual who believes itself to be separate and aware. To that imposter, just being awareness and no different from a piece of wood sounds horrible – understandably! Look at this directly right now! See that these are just ideas arising from nowhere and dissolving back into nowhere – they are seen, but they are seen by no one.
If you just rest as awareness, you will see clearly that all of this is just more of the same conceptual argument and struggle – it is one thought seeming to struggle with another thought. In fact, there is no struggle between thoughts; there is just this thought, now this thought, now this thought, and on and on…it is only another thought that says thoughts struggle. Just rest back, lean back into awareness, and leave thoughts alone. Thinking is none of your business!
Sam: Another point is about us all getting there in the end, after death, so what is the point of struggle?
VF: Good! There IS no point in struggle. What you really are, this clear, open space of awareness, doesn’t struggle. What you are is the space in which the story of struggle arises, is seen, and dissolves back into formlessness.
Sam: I like the way you throw me at the NOW!
VF: You’ve never been anywhere else. Even thought – whose content is typically either struggling with now, arguing with now, regretting the past, or imagining a fearful future – is still arising now.
Sam: But is there any point in formal meditation, and do you advocate any practice, a daily sitting?
VF: Where do you imagine daily sitting will take you? Do you imagine it will deliver you to some other “state” of being? Every state just arises and passes away in this open, clear, spaciousness – states come and go – what is aware of the changing states never changes.
So, if the imagined separate person sits in order to no longer be a separate person, well, as one japanese zen teacher put it, it is like polishing a brick to create a mirror. You can polish a long time, but the brick will never become a mirror. I once heard Catherine Ingram say that it’s like trying to drain the water from a mirage – the premise is completely wrong. So if you sit as the imposter – the believed, separate me – you will likely just reinforce a belief in the mirage being full of water. If you sit as this open awareness, fine; but if you’re already resting as open awareness, then any activity is meditation – sitting, standing, shitting, stirring the soup pot, drinking tea, wiping off the table, writing a note, smoking a cigar, looking at the sky, listening to music, lying sleepless, sweeping the walk, paying the bills, arguing with the landlord…everything, everything, everything arises in and as this clear, open, space. Try resting! Lean back into awareness (it’s already where and what you are anyway); rest as awareness right now. Leave thinking alone, leave sensation alone, leave emotions alone, leave hearing alone, leave seeing alone, leave tasting, alone, leave smelling alone – leave everything, including the idea of a “you” alone. Just rest and watch.
i hope this helps. love, vince