There Is a Simple Freedom
I came crashing into books and videos on nondual awakening a number of years ago, wide-eyed and naive in many ways. I had no earthly idea where any of it would lead. I just knew that trying to get somewhere hadn’t been working. Trying to get love, trying to get drugs that would keep me high, trying to be more attractive, trying to be an artist. All that trying led to a kind of apathetic futility with life. So trying to be enlightened instantly made no sense, yet something drew me to the teachings.
Certainly I thought that awakening would give me everything I had never been able to find before. Under the surface, there was a belief that it would give me the ability to not have to feel pain anymore. I was mistaken in every way. Come to find out, the only way out is through.
Along the way, I met those who were certain that freedom was about not being a self, or seeing through self and even about re-owning self. I made friends with them. I took on their dogma. I tried it on like a new pair of clothes. I paraded it around proudly. Yet it gave me nothing. In the end, it was second hand knowledge. It was not authentic. There are no insights that I am willing to buy into as a way to try to be or have or know anything. I traveled down the middle way, the right way, the left way and the no way. I was certain that it was all about Oneness and then was certain that there was no Oneness. I was certain that it was all about the Now and then certain that the Now was just a woo-woo spiritual concept, overused and empty. In the end, it hasn’t been about any of those things or non-things. I know nothing about the Tao or whether it can be spoken or not.
It has been about basking in uncertainty, basking in the simplicity of what is arising right now. Nothing more, nothing less. Expecting nothing more and expecting nothing less than what is. Love, bliss, light and Oneness sell. They sell books. They feel good. They garner Facebook likes. They captivate the mind. But they are just by-products, things that happen. Nothing that happens lasts. That’s what is so beautiful about life. Because nothing is permanent, everything is so VERY important. Every single thing. Every single thought. Every single moment of bliss. Every spiritual experience. Every mundane experience. Every single moment of deep pain. Every tear I shed in the face of relentless compassion for another human being who is suffering. Every burst of anger that feels as if it will make my body explode. Every moment of seeing that there is no body to explode. Every single emotion. There is a simple freedom that desires nothing more than what is actually appearing right now.
To hang onto any insight, state or experience is to live in the past or push towards a future, unable to meet what actually happens right here in the present. None of that clinging has any value anymore. So no matter what is out there being sold, I am not buying. I am not trying. And I am certainly not selling the notion that I am truly awakened because I am not buying or trying any of that on anymore. I could care less about being truly awakened or being above or below any of that.
There has been no way to escape life. I have tried every angle. I tried to bypass in every way that I could. I wanted to be the Witness. I wanted to be the all pervading Oneness. I wanted to be special. I even wanted to be nobody, when somebody told me that being nobody was the true awakening. I wanted something to be true. Something to last. Something to keep me from having to see that the only way out is through. I wanted to escape basically.
Seeing that escape is not possible and that, even when it seems possible, it doesn’t work, what was left was the clear seeing that awakening is not about special or magical things or experiences. It is not about love, light, bliss or even peace. It is not about being a guru, having a guru or hating gurus. Certainly, those things or states have come and gone, just as agony and despair have come and gone. In the end, I cannot say that it is about anything other than just being right here, typing these words and not trying to be anything other than that. For so long, the notion that being free meant just being right here and doing whatever I am doing seemed so mundane, so ordinary, so not what I expected freedom to be. All that seeking for something other than typing these words was so very stressful.
But there is a simple freedom in not trying to be any of the things or no-things mentioned above. And not trying to be above those things either. There is a simple freedom in not caring whether I am awakened or whether there is an “I” to awaken. There is a simple freedom in not caring whether you think I am awakened or not. There is a simple freedom in not trying to understand. There is a simple freedom in not caring whether someone thinks these words are enlightened or not or whether I think I am above any one else, more or less awakened than anyone else. There is a simple freedom in not caring whether these words get read or this post gets likes. There is a simple freedom in deleting your comment if you seem like an a-hole and not trying to be spiritual about any of that. There is a simple freedom in not trying to sound poetic or inspired. There is a simple freedom in just typing these words. There is a simple freedom. That’s all. Maybe that’s not what I expected, but that’s what is happening. Thankfully, what is happening is enough. More than enough. In fact, it couldn’t be any other way. That’s what makes it so freeing.