Saturday 24 Mar 2018
(With acknowledgements to Joseph Campbell)
There is a paradox that sits right at the gateway to enlightenment. It is a paradox that must be resolved by any and every person if they are ever to understand and experience the unification that enlightenment brings. We can know for certain that the present moment lies between the extremes of past and future and is the only place where reality can be. This is the hero’s destination in their journey of discovery and their enlightenment depends on them resolving the paradox therein.
The past is always a memory in the mind, notwithstanding what it has done to shape the present and the possible future. Its reality is dead and finished, only to be found only in the duality of the insubstantial nature of matter and anti-matter that we perceive in space and time. The future too is not real. We can predict and expect certain things, but because it has not yet arrived for us it, like the past is not real. We can know both personally and collectively, beyond any doubt, that the present moment is the only time and place that is real. This fact is fully recognised in physics where all the equations describing our world and the universe must be balanced. The dual nature of matter leaves a consensus that the Universe balances to zero and was created from “no-thing”. Everything is impermanent and empty! The duality found in the matter and anti-matter that makes up our world has, for the most part, already been found or discovered. This leaves the empty balance of the universe beyond any doubt.
When we move from the physical world to our mental world we find the same impermanence and emptiness. The mental world is where it all begins with the movement of our consciousness. What started this movement can never really be known. Space and time is a labyrinth! Our hero will eventually discover that finding truth and freedom in the extremes is not viable. The eternity of heaven, as postulated in everlasting life, or finding freedom in any truth from a beginning less beginning is fraught. These extremes are both blind alleys. They embody our paradox question by setting up our personal and internal journey against the infinite potential of the external universe. So, the extremes turn out to be the wrong place to look for freedom! Freedom is to be found only in the reality of the present moment. This is where the paradox looms as real. Me and the other! How can it be unified?
A good meditation practice is a very beneficial pathway to understand what this paradox is. As the mind relaxes and settles to allow a clear view of the present moment, we start to see the movement of our consciousness. As this movement becomes clear we start to become aware of the stillness or still consciousness that this movement is embedded in. Wisdom then allows us to notice and understand our personal mind stream moving and creating our lives in the still matrix of our mind. We see that this mind stream is holding or grasping the potential we have made with our karma! Past lives become much easier to understand, because we can see this consciousness being fed back into the present moment. We see that our mind is the universe and that every one of us contains its entire potential, just like a holographic image, broken up, each of us holding and believing in our piece. We can then see our personal mind stream beginning and ending every moment as it mediates the past and future. We see that it is a scaled process with pure still consciousness beginning and ending very fast, countless times in the wink of an eye, all the way to deep time and space where universes begin and end.
Bringing the paradox into view requires our mind to have complete purity if the required resolution of stillness is to prevail. It requires a relaxed deep concentration and insight that is free from tension. Only then will our knowing penetrate into the stillness to allow a full understanding of the way consciousness feeds our mind stream back to create our lives in the moment. It is very fast! To remove any residual tension, the practice must be sustained and be allowed to relax the mind beyond the tension of stillness. This practice will allow the stillness to finish. It will allow still consciousness to finish! The practitioner will then know that the universe is no longer consciously feeding itself back. The paradox has ended! The universe has totally unified with the practitioner allowing the paradox to be resolved. In this state rebirth is not possible, the extended dualities are finished. The entire universe now exists inside the mind of this practitioner, which in turn will go on to finish with the practitioners natural death. This is why the Buddha was purported by some to have said, “Enlighten yourself and you enlighten the entire Universe”. The universe is perfectly balanced. It has always been perfectly balanced. Enlightenment is not theistic or atheistic; it is the middle way between extremes. Its simple beauty comes to be known as the apparent and the transcendent merge, and then our death is its crowning glory. Its freedom is right there in the present moment, it has always been there, we need only to recognise it.