This Is It. This Is Enough. This Is What It Is (And It Isn’t Anything Else)
by Richard Sylvester
Seeing non-duality means seeing that our most basic assumption about our life, that we are separate, is only an appearance. We seem to be the subject of our life, moving through a world of objects, including those objects known as ‘other people’. But actually there is no separation, there is no subject and object, there is only seamless oneness. Recognising this is sometimes called ‘liberation’, and although there are no rules, seeing liberation has a tendency to re-configure our psyche. Liberation may be seen suddenly or it may be seen gradually and, as Nisargadatta said, “The quick is not better than the slow.” However, if liberation comes about quickly, the changes in the psyche tend to be more noticeable, precisely because they are sudden. There is no advantage to this, it just makes them easier to describe.
This re-configuration of the psyche tends to bring about a changed view of reality. At this point I’m going to drop the word ‘tends’, because it is tiresome both for me and for you to keep on using it. But of course in spite of anything that is written here any possibility can happen in liberation. If it couldn’t, it wouldn’t be liberation, it would be imprisonment.
We can sum up this changed view of reality in three sentences. Firstly, it is seen that This Is It. It is recognised that this, whatever is arising, is the entirety. This is the cosmos. This is the universe. This is nothing becoming everything. Time and space are seen through. Past and future are seen through, here and there are seen through. Neurotic thoughts and feelings about the past and future, such as guilt, regret, nostalgia and anxiety, diminish or disappear.
With the neurotic energy that attaches to the separated person reduced or gone, it is also seen that This Is Enough. The neurotic personality sees this as Not Enough, because there is so little engagement with whatever is actually happening when it is seen through the veil of separation. In separation, our attention is focused so much on the past, the future, our own concerns and our own projections, that of course whatever is actually arising seems to be too thin and insubstantial to be satisfying. Most of the time we are engaging not with life, but with our own spectral imaginings. The result is often boredom or depression, and a constant searching for something more exciting to happen. But with separation gone, the complete aliveness of every moment is seen, and so this becomes sufficient. The desire for something more exciting to happen diminishes or dies away and joy is taken in the simplicity of whatever is – the aroma of coffee, the sound of the wind in the trees, the texture of a cat’s fur. Because we no longer have a need for excitement and drama to ward off boredom, a more simple and a quieter life is often led.
The third change in the way the psyche views reality in liberation can be summed up in the words “It is seen that This Is What It Is (And It Isn’t Anything Else).” In separation, the psyche often adds meaning and purpose to what is, precisely because what is in its simplicity is not experienced as fulfilling enough. We want What Is With A Cherry On Top. So we invent endless stories about What This Is About. For instance a fall in the street may be turned into A Punishment From God. A win on the lottery may be turned into The Fruits Of Good Karma, or The Grace Of The Guru. We live as the star of our own movie, in a story moving meaningfully towards some kind of purposeful resolution. Meaning and purpose are seen as justifying our existence.
But just as a flower needs no meaning to be a perfect flower and a cat needs no meaning to be a perfect cat, we need no meaning to be a perfect Jim or Mary or Bill or Annie. We are already oneness expressing itself as whoever we are. How could that possibly be improved upon? When this is seen, everything is simply what it is, and it isn’t anything else.
In liberation, the dramas of meaning and purpose that the separated mind thrives on die away, or at least they are seen for what they really are – as stories such as we might tell to entertain a bored child on a rainy afternoon. Our need to Save The Planet, or Please God, or Perform Seva For Our Guru To Cleanse Our Karma disappears. So does our fascination with purifying our chakras, balancing our aura and having therapy for our past (and maybe future) lives. And it is also seen that if any of these stories continue, that’s O.K. too, that is also “Liberation doing its thing”.
So what about love? Now we come to the deepest mystery. What most radically re-configures the psyche in liberation is the recognition that Everything Is Unconditional Love. It is realised that unconditional love cannot be understood by the personal mind and is, like everything else to do with liberation, impersonal. In other words, unconditional love has nothing to do with me or you. Unconditional love simply is. It excludes nothing. If it did, it would not be unconditional. The mind is baffled by this. The mind can only live in conditionality, dividing up experience into what it likes and what it dislikes. But there is no need for the mind to torture itself with its inevitable failure to love unconditionally, because in liberation it is seen that unconditional love is simply the case, regardless of what you and I might be thinking and feeling. Always unconditionally there is love. When this is seen, even the most ordinary moment becomes vividly alive.