It’s so easy to fall into the spiritual trap of feeling like you’ve ‘got it’. After spending many years doing spiritual practices there may be a deepening and deepening understanding of what’s being spoken of and pointed to. This intellectual understanding coupled with spiritual or awakening experiences, and life can start to look a hell of a lot rosier. Maybe you’ve gone through some tough times, some mind attacks and such, and coming out the other side everything feels lighter and more blissful, the annoying person who cut in line isn’t bothering you any more. It’s like the contrast of that tight constricted suffering compared with the light airy, no troubled feeling comes as such a relief. And when it lasts for longer and longer with more frequency and with less and less trouble you can’t be blamed for thinking ‘I’ve got it’.
I don’t want to diminish this experience, it’s wonderful and probably shows up along the way for everyone at some point. But if for a moment we set aside all those lovely spacious feelings, and the fact that we are moving through life with more ease; if we set aside those things, can we look at what is going on and what that means (if anything)?
The key component of all of this is to see if you can identify the one that believes it ‘gets’ it. This ‘I’ is a tricky one, it knows all the best tricks! It can even hide behind the one that feels it’s witnessing the play of life.
All of this more ‘awakened behaviour’ is just that… phenomenal and fleeting. At some point you will come up against something that will thrust you back into a feeling of not being present, or not witnessing, or non-enlightened behaviour – whatever your particular flavour looks like. If you haven’t truly identified yourself to be the formless awareness that all of this arises in and as; then it will feel like there’s an ‘in’ and ‘out’ ness to all of this. That sometimes you are ‘in’ presence and other times, maybe when something bad is happening, you are ‘out’.
You have to come to the recognition that you ARE what’s seeing all of this. You ARE the one that sees that coming and going feeling. If you weren’t then you wouldn’t be able to see it going or coming back in the first place. I’ll use the example of a knife. A knife can cut any number of things, but it can’t cut itself. Anything that it cuts, therefore is not the knife. You are that knife. You see all that is arising, you are not what you see, you are the seer. Now the analogy breaks down because it suggests that you (the knife) are different to what is arising (what the knife cuts). This isn’t the case, all is arising within and as the consciousness (you) that sees it… but no analogy is perfect after all!
So what am I saying is this…. don’t stop looking even when you feel ‘you’ve got it’. Keep looking for the one who feels that they’ve got it, because I guarantee that at some point that one that’s ‘got it’ won’t be there to make that bold claim anymore.