One of my favorite Dharma Doors is: “Everything is a function of your true essence.”
Every experience is the real you appearing as an experience!
What is an experience? It can be something you see, feel, hear, smell, or taste. If you call it “inner” our “outer” does not change the fact that it is experienced and that is consciousness. Nobody has ever experienced what a tree is in itself – an object! No, people have “experienced” a tree. But the idea of a tree existing independently of being experienced is not true. All there is are experiences; consciousness moving and changing.
This is the first step to be able to understand this Dharma Door. What we call experiences are forms and names of consciousness. There is no objective world existing “out there”, apart from ourselves. The old science paradigm still insists on this idea that our experiences are more or less precise representation of an object outside or inside a “me”! But we will not find a separate object! It will just be another experience; neither will we find a separate “me” existing independently. The “me” we will find is also an experience (i.e. consciousness)!
All there is is consciousness that can have forms and names, and then we call it appearance or experience. It can also be pure, formless- and nameless, and that is who we are really. We are pure consciousness itself. As we come to realize that, we will know that it is this pure consciousness that explodes into the millions and millions of things that we sometimes call “the world” or “my subjective experiences”. But there are really no subjective experiences because the “me” is itself an experience.
Now we are a little closer to the understanding of this Dharma Door. Since every experience is consciousness and you are the pure formless and nameless consciousness itself, it is this “you” – pure consciousness – that effortlessly is exploding into forms and names. This ongoing “creation” we call life!
But this ongoing creation is not real! It is impermanent! Yes it appears to be real, but if we get closer and really experience our experience, we will see that it has no separate nature. Yes, we can give it names and think about it, but if we look without labeling, judging and conceptualizing we will find that it is not really there. In Advaita Vedanta it is called Maya. In this tradition Maya is seen as a great Goddess, as Shakti, because she is essentially the nature of consciousness and that is not changing. But Maya is bewitching us and makes us believe in the forms and names and we get lost and forget who we are.
If we get really intimate with our experiences they reveal their true nature – pure consciousness. In Advaita Vedanta it is called Atma Gyan: true wisdom of what we are – the changeless, totally fulfilling reality beyond the mind, the forms and the names. Here there is no “me”, because if the experience is not really there the sense of separation is dissolving immediately.
The Buddhists calls Maya “Samsara”, the veal of birth and death, which essentially is “dukkha” – pain or suffering. To live and only knowing Samsara is slow poison which is described in the famous words of Buddha: birth, old age, sickness and death.
Let’s look at the Dharma Door again: “Everything is a function of your true essence”
Every experience is a passing appearance of who we really are. When we realize this truly and existentially, we go beyond life and death. Upon death of the body, there will be no one coming back to a non-existing world. How can you come back if there is really no world and no “you”?
There is a Beautiful saying of The Danish Mystic J. Anker Larsen (1874-1957)
“I am finished with everything without being tired of anything”
No, we are not tired of anything because there is no “me” to be tired, and “nothing” to be tired of. Anker Larsen had really seen this; here there is no dust on the self! He had realized the impermanence, the transitory nature of all experiences including the experience of himself.
It is interesting to notice that in psychological circles they still talk about having a strong ego in order not to become mentally disturbed. But what is this “ego” they are talking about? When people become psychotic it is because they are totally identified with the content of the mind. They are victims of every thought that arises in the mind, and the ego is nothing but thoughts and memories. When people get neurotic they are scared of losing control and they are also scared of thoughts. From my point of view we are all more or less crazy unless we know who we are, and who we are is not a thought – it is a knowing that nothing can take away. If I ask someone: “Are you not the same now, when you sit here talking with me, as you were when you went to work Monday morning a week ago.?”. She will not hesitate to say “yes of course!”. But if I ask “what it is that is the same”, she will be in difficulties! What is it that is the same? It is something we more or less feel, but if we totally loose this feeling of “sameness” we go crazy. A so-called sane person always knows and feels this sameness. How so ever strong the thoughts and feelings are, she knows that she is not her thoughts and feelings. She feels that there is something that she is, but talking about it turns it into thoughts.
The stronger we are in touch with this true unchanging reality the more stable and grounded we are. But this is not the ego or personality; it is our true nature – that which is never changing. When we start to live from here, when we realize who we are, the world we encounter is dreamlike, unreal and impermanent; we become free of all entanglements and identifications. From here “you are in life but not of life.” Our whole perspective has changed. We know that every experience is our true nature arising as a momentary illusion, and that also includes the ego-thought. The seer and the seen are the same essential nature, so how can you have any investment in it. The giver is essentially the given, and this stops the desiring mind because desire needs separation and division.
If we can just sometime feel what is like to imagine that the giver is the given, the lover is the beloved, we will slowly come into the real reality. We can also say that there is only God, That, Brahman or whatever we call it, but we must feel it; not just think about it.
What I say here are not some interesting ideas! It is so! Feel the Divine all the time and you will come to know that this body and mind you call yours are really being lived by the Divine. It is Gods dance. There is really no personal doership.
You can practice the Dharma Door “Everything is a function of your true essence” by sensing into the following words:
“That which I truly am is now taking form of this experience”
Go for a walk and just let your attention move wherever it wants, and wherever there is at a certain point, for example a body sensation, then say inside: “That which I truly am is now taking form of a body sensation!”. The next moment the attention is on something else, this time maybe a tree, then say: “That which I truly am is now taking form of a tree!”. Just go on like this and all separation will disappear.
When you practice this little Dharma Door, you will naturally see that there is no separate “me”. You will know that you are where your attention is. This is to see with your heart!