Sunday, 15 February 2009
Why Pursue Awakening?
What is the point of awakening, if that's what we're calling it today? There isn't one. It seems to come up. When there is nothing else to pursue, sometimes people get a whisper of the concept of awakening from an encounter with Buddhism or the non-duality "movement" or whatever. When the pursuit of other things either proves elusive, or, as often seems the case, things like wealth or love or altruism or raising a family are achieved and the capture of them brings no fulfillment, awakening seems the only thing worthy of pursuing. When devotion to some certain religion brings no answer to the question of existence, people often conclude that it's a change of perception that they need. They find a charismatic teacher that they promptly project every lover and hero onto, and they think, oh yes, I want what that person has. He is enlightened. He goes about in a cloud of bliss and tranquility, he is possessed of great wisdom and contentedness, he is actualised, he is really himself, and I want all of those things. Plus he seems to have a lot of magnetism and everyone wants to sleep with him. Give me some of that, please! So the chosen guru gives a lot of writing assignments and satsangs and lessons and practices that will finally shrink the individual down to nothing, thus making awakening possible. It's just another story. There is no point to awakening, no more than there is a point to anything else. The point of everything is that it is simply there, and we are that. Life is its own answer. You are peeling potatoes and suddenly, ah. This is it. How could it not be seen before? Whether you feel worthy or not is just a story. How many gaps in your thinking you can achieve in meditation is just a story. Liberation is not at the end of some course of study, or some period of seclusion and self-enquiry. It is the death of the thing that looks for it. And there is nothing the dreamer can do to shatter the dream that does not reinforce it. Awakening, or whatever we're calling it this week, is always everything. It is always available, there's no getting away from it, it is the biggest thing around, it allows everything and encompasses everything and it is already everything. But there is nothing wrong with attending a deeply satisfying satsang, and coming away from it fancying the guru madly. It all happens as it must. All of it.