Sometimes (often?) we look around us and think how much happier and more secure we would be if things were different. If we earned more money or were better with the money we have, if the kids were quieter or spent less time on the iPad, if the relatives were less intrusive or more helpful, if we lost or gained some weight, if we didn’t have those habits or had more useful ones, if we worked more or worked less, if we got the promotion or could give up work, if the house was bigger or smaller.
And so we spend our time in a state of looking for something else. This seems very natural. Of course, life is about progression and change and seeking the best possible way to be and live. We try to make the right decisions and sort out the problems to create the best life for us and our families.
Then along comes a coach like me or a book or a recording that says something very different.
That none of this is real. None of it.
Not your idea of who you are.
Not your idea of what you need.
Not your idea that you, as an individual, have free will or can make right or wrong decisions.
Not your idea of problems, money or weight or kids or career or addictions.
Not your idea of past or future.
None of it is objective or real.
How does that sound?
Scary? Offensive? Ludicrous? Impossible? Intriguing?
Whether it is something you will consider exploring further depends on whether you see a glimmer of truth in it.
Maybe you have already seen for yourself how sometimes things seem really complicated and sometimes straightforward.
Maybe you have already questioned how free will can be possible when there is no control over which thoughts come to mind and over which are believed.
Maybe you have started to see how everything you think about yourself can change and that therefore your nature is pure potential not a fixed limited identity.
Maybe you have noticed the freedom of those moments of no self-consciousness, no self-reflection when you are just a presence, being, living and doing.
Maybe you have experienced absolute love in which there is no space between you and another.
Or maybe… maybe it looks to you that this understanding is pointing to a place that you absolutely do not want to go to.
Maybe it seems that if you consider the ‘unrealness’ of what we think is real you will end up (to quote a client of mine) ‘drooling on the couch’.
Maybe you fear that if you question the belief in free will you will do nothing. Just shrugging your shoulders saying ‘not up to me’ while life crumbles around you or will be at the mercy of an evil force.
Maybe you feel that having gripped the reigns so tightly all your life to keep food on the table and a roof overhead any release of that grip will mean no food and no roof.
Maybe you feel that you need to protect yourself and that love or no separation means your boundaries will come down and you will be vulnerable and at risk.
Maybe you feel that you actually quite like yourself and your life as you are and that if you questioned it you would become something else, somehow less of yourself, less vibrant and real.
Maybe you love life, love flowers and mountains and animals, love other people, love the things that happen and fear that if you were to question the reality of everything you see around you, you would find yourself in a fog of nothingness. No pain or suffering but no pleasure and delight either.
It’s a real fear. It is this fear that causes people to walk out of talks, to close down books, to shut down the conversation. It is this fear that causes people to turn towards the people and organisations promising to make them happier and more secure by being more and having more.
A lifetime of building a sense of self and a life is not easily questioned. And the fear of what would happen to us and our life if we loosened this grip, if we stopped the striving and seeking and questioning and deciding can be significant.
So let’s consider if this fear is justified. Let’s have a look at what happens when we start to see the truth of who we are.
Let’s consider what happens ‘on the other side’.
1. We see through the belief in ourself as a fixed identity and we live as the true, unique, sparkling, life force that we really are.
Oh my goodness this is a big one and we know this. We see people who shine with the freedom of no fixed, limited idea of who they are. We see people trapped, muffled and dulled by self-consciousness, weighed down by imaginary limits, lost in the endless seeking of approval or affirmation. As we see through the beliefs that create an idea of self, our true essence is freed up to shine so brightly it lights up the world. As we drop any idea of who we are, the illusory cage of needing to be someone dissolves and we become so so much more of ourself. It cannot work any other way.
2. We see through the futility of wanting something else and live the perfection of reality.
The striving and the seeking comes from an identity that can only assert itself in the need for something other. In those moments of no seeking and no striving there is just being and doing, just pure immersion in life and in what is. No thought of anything needed or anything to change. There is not even a person there to want something else. There is just the pure presence of life in infinite abundance.
3. We see through the belief that we need to seek out happiness, security. The ‘causeless joy’ of our nature shines through.
This one is quite paradoxical and also entirely logical! It is the search for happiness that makes us unhappy. It is the search for security that creates insecurity. When we realise that all emotions are simply part of life, that all experiences are welcome, then we live as we are – the space in which all of life appears and disappears. With no resistance and no fear there is simply the pure joy and love of life. We find ourselves more immersed in life than ever before. There is no separation. We are all of it.
4. We see through the idea that other people are separate and we find ourselves in clear integrity
This is a good one for those who believe that we need to hold on to the idea of separate others in order to protect ourselves. It is impossible that other people are separate from us because every single person, ourselves included, is a creation of perception. All of us are the consciousness in which these ideas of people appear. And what is really cool is that as we see this we come into every interaction with curiosity, openness, intrigue and integrity. Knowing we are one, we find ourselves saying and doing and asking from deepest honesty and love. We are only ever asking ourself.
5. We see through the idea of free will and we live in infinite potential, unlimited possibility.
When we live an idea of ourselves as a separate individual believing our thoughts there is no possibility of freedom. Whatever thoughts are believed will create the reality experienced and the behaviour that results – trapping us in the world of conditioned, repetitive, habitual thought. Freedom lies in seeing the nature of thought to create an idea of self, of life, of the world, of others, of things that must be done. Freedom lies in seeing that ultimately we are consciousness, the space in which all this appears, in which there is nothing that has to be done, resisted or changed and in which there is unlimited potential for anything.
So in other words this ‘other side’ is only ever ‘this side’. It is the pathless path as my coach Garret Kramer calls it. Right here, in the miracle reality of who we are. It is us with all the layers taken off. It is us, realising the essence of life and the essence of who we are. We sparkle and shine like never before. There are no limits on what is possible. We are infinite potential. Infinite love.
The other side is life as it is right now but seen clearly for the miracle it truly is.
The other side is us as we are right now but seen clearly for the miracle we truly are.
Nowhere to get to. Nothing to do. Nothing to change. No other side.
Everything is the same and yet it could not be more different.
It could not be more different.