As we dig deep into what is actually true it becomes clear that nothing is objective. There is nothing that is independent or separate from the observer. Everything that looks real and fixed is only always 100% subjective. A function of observation. Nothing more and nothing less.
This means that the closest we can get to seeing what is true is the realisation that life or being is the only constant. There is a knowing of existence, of life, of awareness that is beyond thought. After that, there is nothing objective to know. There is no separation between observer and observed.
And the big question is: what happens when we know that ultimately the world as we see it is an appearance? That none of it is true in the way it appears to be true? That none of it is separate from us the observer, all of it is a creation of the awareness that we really are?
Do our kids, friends, job, house suddenly disappear into a cloud of nothingness? Do mountains, flowers, sunsets, rain, animals suddenly become impossible to perceive? Does it suddenly look as though there are no other people in the world?
No of course not. We’re still here. Exactly as we were before. Making dinner with food that looks real. Taking seemingly tangible children to school in a solid looking car. Earning a living in an actual job with actual colleagues. Brushing our apparently objective teeth with a non-illusory toothbrush.
So, what has changed? Why doesn’t the understanding of the illusory nature of reality wipe out reality?
Well, when we watch a film in the cinema, we know it is not real life but we still get to see it, appreciate it, experience it. There are still characters on the screen, there is still music, still drama and tension. We may well have moments during the film where we are completely immersed in it. We could be terrified, distraught and, in the midst of the tears or the fear, someone could shake us and say ‘this isn’t real you know’ and we would nod and say ‘Duh! Now get lost you’re ruining the good bit.’
We know it’s a film and that doesn’t stop us showing up for it. On the contrary, knowing it’s a film we can fully give ourselves up to it.
And this is why the non-dual understanding is completely weird and mind blowing and at the same time just run-of-the-mill, everyday stuff.
It turns our entire understanding of self, life, everything upside down, spins it round, shakes it up, makes us marvel that the world as we believed it to be is not as we believed it to be. And at the same time, we are still in that same every day world of school runs and bills to pay and washing up to do.
So, what really is the point? What does change?
Well, it is fair to say that a lot of stuff will disappear.
As it is realised that the idea of who we are is infinitely less fixed, reliable, useful or true than believed to be, life hangs out more and more as it is: presence, unconditional love, joy, freedom.
And this means there is no longer that desperate need to secure the self, to defend and protect it, to project it into the future and to cling on to the mirage of the past. So, everything connected with safeguarding this idea of who we are, the stuff that was never there in the first place, has to go. The stuff that, unlike the kids, the job, the bills, the toothbrush, was actually only ever non-existent. That was only ever a fabrication out of thin air in order to say ‘look how vulnerable, separate, isolated I am’.
Who knows what this will be for you? Certain needs and fears might fall away. Maybe those mind-numbing, thought-numbing, experience controlling practices and habits will fade out. Paranoia might well disappear. The idea that people hate you or look down on you or look up to you even might go. Who knows?
We just know that the non-existent stuff that existed solely in relation to an idea of self that had to secure itself cannot survive the understanding that there is no separate self. Gone. Impossible even to remember that it ever existed. (Probably because it didn’t).
And with it goes all the exhaustion, stress, vulnerability, insecurity of trying to fix in place what can never be fixed.
If this were the only point of looking at what is true about who we are then it would more than reason enough. We could stop right there.
But then it gets even better.
Because then there is the stuff that doesn’t disappear.
We can know from the depth of our being that somehow, we are the observation that brings everything to life. That the world begins and ends within the life that we really are. That there is nothing that exists independently of that.
And this does not mean that we wake up in a world of nothing. It means that we wake up in a world of partners, kids, jobs, colleagues, bills, mortgages but with an entirely different perspective.
We are no longer an apparently separate individual needing to deal with these apparently separate things in order that we can be happy, secure and loved.
We are actually the space in which all of this appears. And the nature of that space is already pure joy, pure love, utter security.
The veil is off. And now this world – this body, these kids, partners, even the mortgage – appear as the miracle they really are. Creations of consciousness. They are real in the sense that they are there in front of us and not real in the sense that the way they appear can only ever be illusory.
From the joy, love and peace at the depth of our being we engage with what is in front of us simply because it is there in front of us. It would be impossible not to. Apparently real and also not. It is life worshipping, revelling in, delighting in its infinite, shifting, changing appearances.
Who we thought we were has gone and there remains a world of miracles to live. Unlimited, no ceiling, no edges, no separation.
There cannot be a point to this because there is nothing needed.
No point realised from the very real space of love, joy, peace and freedom.
And that, you might say, is the point.