What it is

There is, as Tony Parsons puts it, just boundless energy. Infinite, inexhaustible, perennial energy. Love, God, the Tao, whatever you like. You are that. I am that. It’s not going anywhere – never has never will. It cannot be lost, destroyed, or created, as the first law of thermodynamics confirms. It has no purpose, no needs, no problems, no qualifications, no birth and no death. It is all that is.

But then there’s the rub. Because it is infinite and omnipotent, there is also the possibility of an apparent ignorance within that energy. Due to the human being acquiring a sense of self-awareness, unlike other organisms, we are capable of this ignorance. The energy becomes contracted and identified with a particular body-mind, the infinite dreaming it is finite. A deep sense of dissatisfaction naturally arises – dukkha, as the Buddhists call it – which results in a whole smorgasbord of fears, anxieties, hopes, addictions, etc., as the separate self dramatically and hopelessly tries to untie itself from the knot of its own making – which only serves to tighten it further.

Traditionally, this was analogized as Adam eating the fruit from the forbidden tree. Whatever was initially intended by this biblical metaphor has of course been greatly obfuscated and manipulated, whether intentional or otherwise, but the core truth of it remains accurate. It doesn’t take a terribly astute observer to recognize that humanity is currently in a great turmoil. The ignorance and confusion has reached its physical and mental limits, we are desperately looking for some peace, some respite from this great calamity borne inside of us.

Here is where I diverge from Tony Parsons, who seems to advocate for some spontaneous a-ha moment where the recognition of this ignorance overwhelms the mind into a sort of instant enlightenment, a word he also oddly disdains. That is certainly a possibility, as some have attested to, but for most we must face the agony head-on and enter the at-times-excruciating and at-times-peaceful world of meditation, until this sense of separation is dissolved in the light of awareness. The conditioning of separation in all aspects of our culture is so entrenched that a prolonged, disciplined effort is generally required, instructions for which are documented at length in my book or across this website.

Discard all you are not and go ever deeper. Just as a man digging a well discards what is not water, until he reaches the water-bearing strata, so must you discard what is not your own, till nothing is left which you can disown.

– Nisargadatta

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