The Dream of Separation
All there is, is No-thing Being Everything and what appears as part of that everything is the belief and experience of being a separate self — an apparent individual with its own free will, choice and ability to act. This happening is uniquely human and is called self-consciousness. To most people it is the reality.
That apparent feeling of being separate is at the root of the suffering, inadequacy and sense of loss that drives people to search for escape or resolution. It is Being dreaming that it is apart from itself, looking all over the place for that which is already Everything. It is the hypnotic dream of separation which, for the dreamer, is very real.
The dilemma for the dream seeker is that the feeling of separation drives the seeking for resolution, which further fuels the sense of separation.
The development of an intelligent understanding 'mind' apparently brings with it the ability to make choices and take actions in an attempt to negotiate with 'the world' lived in. These negotiations are not always successful and the individual seems to experience its own pain and pleasure. It also develops a great respect for the guidance and control apparently emanating from the understanding 'mind'. However, as long as there is a sense of separation, there is a sense of disquiet or loss and there is a seeking to dispel that sense. It seems logical that the much respected understanding 'mind' must be capable of investigating the cause of this disquiet and discovering ways of dispelling it.
The separate entity can only try to imagine or project an idea of what it must be like not to be separate. What is sought is the possibility of a future goal or state that can be realised and therefore, logically, must be approachable. Consequently, the function of seeking and the teaching of becoming locks the seeker into a state of continuously approaching something that it cannot comprehend. All of this is the expression of Being, arising as the good, old, dependable and reliable understanding ‘mind’ functioning as it can only function . . . in continual movement and anticipation. It is this activity of becoming which very effectively keeps the seeker in the hypnotic dream of reaching out for something it cannot grasp. Of course, Liberation can apparently happen despite all of this effort.
The only other hope for the dream seeker is to believe that another benevolent energy (say God, Consciousness or a so-called enlightened teacher) would be motivated to guide and influence the seeker along a path which would eventually lead them to fulfilment. All of these ideas of becoming, purpose and destiny arise in the dream.
But the paradox is that although Being appears as the dream seeker, Being is not a state that can be imagined, conceived of, attained or even realised by the seeking of it. Being requires absolutely nothing … it is the Nothing and Everything that is already immaculate fulfilment and wholeness. Nothing needs to be changed or attained, lost or found, for Being to simply Be. The appearance of separation is simply the expression of Being. The very idea of something needing to approach that which it already is, is wonderfully futile. Being is a comedian with an audience which never laughs.
The dream seeker feels a sense of loss and unworthiness, and so is very attracted to dream teachings which involve purification, hard committed effort, surrender, devotion and the development of renunciation and detachment. There is a kind of logical inevitability and worthiness about these ideas which resonates with the sense of lack. The almost endless path of striving happily ensures the continuation of the individual experience. These ideas seem to arise out of a very substantial and reliable history of traditional wisdom which surely must be respected, even though it is only available as words on bits of paper.
Two traditional ways which seek resolution, or escape, from the sense of separation are meditation and self-enquiry.
In meditation it seems possible, through apparent choice and guidance, to reach certain states of stillness or bliss which seem better than feeling separate. The belief is that continuous effort with meditation will solidify the state and eventually make it permanent. But these states are only refined personal experiences happening within the dream-story. So like all other time-based activities they come and go away.
Self-enquiry is a similar process in that the goal is for the individual to choose to take action or make the effort to reach a place called awareness which, its teachers promise, will bring personal peace of mind, happiness and the end of all suffering (?).
There is a great emphasis on the need for properly carried out investigation of thought processes etc, and the necessity for vigilance from “being distracted by self-centred thoughts”.
All of this activity is based on the principle of the enquirer “getting oneness” and maintaining personal possession of it.
The effect of the state of awareness is apparent movement into a place of detachment which at first feels very freeing, powerful and safe . . . rather like being in a glass box from which life can be watched without the watcher being affected. It is still a subtly dual personal experience within the dream-story of separation and so it is transitory.
Awareness of life happening is not 'Being life'.
Predictably the state of awareness (Buddhist mindfulness) is easily forgotten or mislaid, or it can be overwhelmed by dream thinking or any powerful emotional situation, for instance. The glass box shatters and the place you seemed to be in seems lost again. The dream seeker either starts selfenquiring again, for another boost, or it is realised that awareness is just another refuge from within the dream of separation. All of this is simply the expression of Being.
Another way for the dream seeker to avoid simply Being is to try to understand or develop clarity about its own nature. It is very easy to get stuck in ‘Advaita’ or ‘non-dual’ concepts. The singular and unrelenting reiteration of such ideas as “all there is is Being", “everything is the expression of Being” or “there is no one” are an arid and simplistic form of communication. It doesn't address or illuminate the dream seeker’s apparent dilemma and it obviously ignores the primary energetic essence of the implicit aliveness of simply Being. To continuously say that being awake or being asleep is not relevant because “Being is all there is” is like telling a blind person that it’s OK to be blind because “seeing is all there is”. This is pure idealism. Of course, there is no such thing as being asleep or being awake, but this is not seen until there is no one looking.
The Open Secret communication is not dependent on clear concepts, however much they may expose confused concepts. Speaking happens and words can only point to another possibility which is beyond verbal expression. It is the eternally new message which is hidden within the scriptures and either overlooked or rejected in the ‘mind’.
The idea of prescriptive teaching, guidance or the offer of any kind of help simply does not arise. This is a message without hope or comfort of any kind for the individual, but invariably the dream seeker will still believe that something is on offer … this is the function of seeking. It is also possible that all that will be left is nothing, and then another possibility could arise. However, there is no agenda or motive because nothing is for sale.
It is possible that clarity could arise, but absolute understanding is not liberation. Nevertheless, all of this conceptual communication is secondary to the primary element that is most illuminating. That primary element is energetic, impersonal aliveness … the implicit, vibrant wonder of simply Being. It is an energetic shift, apparently out of contraction into boundlessness. This boundlessness cannot be owned and so cannot be given. Its simplicity utterly confounds the ‘mind’, but what arises is an impersonal recognition that there is no-one and nothing to be liberated. All ideas of separation, individual suffering, free will, choice, meaning and purpose, destiny, hierarchy and tradition, are simply seen by no-one as the dream-play of Being.
It seems that the seeking ‘mind’ is fascinated by struggle and complexity. The whole fabric of seeking is full of stories of great edifices, seemingly arising out of simple beginnings. Buddhism, Christianity and so many other dogmas, arise and grow and fight each other over having better gods. Catechisms of sin and worthiness, degrees of awareness and levels of enlightenment are investigated, dissected and struggled over.
The mind loves the idea of enlightenment being some kind of distant, virtually unobtainable, perfect place of permanent bliss, free from suffering and full of omniscience, omnipresence and lots of other important ‘omni’s’ stomping around, shouting the odds and saving the world. And of course, because all this glory and specialness has to be attained, it seems there has to be a long haul through the dark night of the soul, endless past karmas, original sin, right-thinking, right action and preparation for the bardos. “It is a tale told by a fool, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Yet Natural Being is such an ordinary and gentle constant. When it is seen it is. When it is avoided it is. It requires no effort and demands no standards. Being timeless there is no path to tread, no debt to pay. When this is heard and confusion collapses, when the contraction of struggling to get something falls away and the vibrant energy of being aliveness becomes apparent, something else is seen, very naturally of course, because it is already all that is.