Why do we search for what we already have? What is it within us that pushes the search to the front of everything? Why is there an endless search, to find the newest system, mantra, guru, or whatever else it might be, including enlightenment? We move from guru to guru, wanting to find the "Truth." When we cannot find it with guru A, or system B, or religion C, we move on to the next target. We become a victim of the search.
Why do it at all? Is there anything outside of us that we can find? I don't mean anything of the physical reality, like finding a physical address or looking to buy a new car for a growing family. But somehow, that action of looking outward, in physical reality, is transferred to the inner workings of the mind.
We substitute our moment by moment awareness for the search. But the object of the search IS the moment by moment awareness. It is the thing that we already possess. It is so damn elusive only because we believe our thoughts that say, "You don't have it. If you had it, you wouldn't be greedy." But that is not true. If you had it, you would be greedy. Why? Because you are greedy. That doesn't mean that the action of greed will persist. If you see what you are, what the self is, that the self IS the greed that it wants to escape from, then all walls dissolve, and nothing is left.
I don't mean to say it in some wishy-washy new age language like, "All the wonders of the universe are there within, my eternal brother (or sister), just look to the is-ness that is the you of the awareness of being in the moment now that is forever now in the one-ness of divine harmoniousness." That is complete nonsense. Just look. See what is there within you; within us all. It is already right there, as plain as the nose on your face.
But why do we search? What is it that makes us leave home in the first place?
I see my life. I see that I am a terrible and greedy little human, and I don't want to be like that. I resist the reality of my life. I want to escape. I may have a great life, but I cannot see the reality of it, because I live in a fantasy world where everything is not what it is; it is only what it should be. The should be and the IS can never meet. One is in a world of thought, and the other is beyond thought.
I see you, you who are living a divine life in my eyes, and I want that because somewhere I was told, by others or by my own thoughts, that I shouldn't be the way I am. I should strive to be something that I am not. The greed is here, but it shouldn't be. Instead I should be more loving, more compassionate, more in tune with the needs of others, instead of being what I am.
Duality tears apart the possibility of seeing things the way that they are. The self tears it apart. I resist the reality of it, not seeing what I really am, and in that pain, in that suffering, I try to escape. The escape is the search. I can't sit with myself and see that I am greed; the self is greed. I have to find a way to be better, and in that need time is introduced into the psyche, and terrorism begins. The self, wanting to be different than what it is, is the heart of terrorism.
I want the freedom that someone else seems to have, and I cannot imagine that freedom is already here.
I spend my life searching for what I already am, but do I really want to find the answer? If an answer could be given by a guru, then I would stop searching. If the question were answered, why would I go on? Because once the question is answered, that is the end of it.
Could it be that there is never an answer from an outside system? Could it be that the only reason I go to someone for answers is not because I want to find something new, but because I want them to support the answers that I already have? If they validate what I already believe, then they must be a true guru. But if they don't, I'll go somewhere else.
I go to you for the answer to enlightenment. You say, "Do this this and this, and you will be enlightened." Then I leave and do those things, or not do those things. I play with it. It seems like a good idea, because it doesn't really conflict with any of my ideas about enlightenment. But the search doesn't stop there. If doing those things were of any value, wouldn't the search be over?
Or you say, "I have calibrated you, and you can never be enlightened." Does that end the search? No, because you must be wrong, as it doesn't fit with my ideas about enlightenment. Guru A said that I can be enlightened, and that is more appealing, so I will believe that instead. And the search goes on.
But you might ask, "If we already have what we are searching for, then why don't we see it?" Because we are always becoming something. We are becoming enlightened, becoming compassionate, becoming non-greedy, or whatever it is. But all the time we are becoming we are never being. No, not "we" are never being; just being.
Nothing more and nothing less.
(This is the very first Question Of The Week, and I look forward to all that you have to say. Please remember, I am not saying that this is right or wrong. I have no idea about that sort of thing. Let's just see what is here. Let's see what arises.)
EDIT: 9/12/07 - I have had a few wonderful responses so far, and it is exciting to hear what is on the minds of those that read this blog.
The first response is from Patricia @ Spiritual Journey of a Light Worker.
Because of what we have been taught and what we believe, just “being” doesn’t seem enough, but the reality is that “being” is exactly what it is all about. Most of us have forgotten what the connectedness of “being” feels like and that is what we are searching for. The problem is we always search in the wrong place, somewhere out there, separate from us. The “being” happens when we reconnect with the Divine spark that we all are in our hearts. The bliss that we all strive for comes from the connection of “being” the oneness. Don’t know if I am making any sense or not.
I think that most have never "been." I don't want to say "from birth," because there is no way of knowing if it is true. But at some point we leave the moment, the bliss, or whatever, possibly for security. We sense that living from nothing, which is essentially what it is to be in the moment, is dangerous, never mind we are already there. It just seems to be a silly trade off. We disconnect thinking we will have security, only to want to go back to nothingness because there is no security. It all seems so silly.
Part of the problem is the individual, which is essentially born from insecurity. If there is no conflict, there cannot possibly be an individual. I am not saying that we are not unique in our talents, or in the way we are capable of expressing ourselves, but the expression of the individual will always be limited, because the individual is limited by the walls of its own design.
I have not written much on security or the individual, but I will sometime this month.
You are on to something important in your first sentence, Patricia. Our conditioning, social and cultural, is responsible for the pattern that is set within us, but it is not necessarily responsible for us accepting it as so. That is something altogether different. When we leave "bliss," as you have called it, there is that instant feeling that something is missing. But we look outward for this missing element, for whatever reason, instead of seeing that it was always here.
We can only feel connection to those things important to the individual. Certainly, the individual can imagine that there is a connection to something outside of itself, but if violence still exists, if we still strive to be something other than we are, then there is no connection. It is just a fantasy that we live in. But as I have said before, if one must live in a fantasy, why not make it one that is beneficial for everyone? Live in the fantasy if you want, but feed starving kids while you are at it.
The individual can only feel connection based on its sphere of experience and desire. But is that connection? Isn't that just the self connected to the self? Is connection to oneself connection? Not a type of connection, or somewhat of a connection, but is it so? What happens if the individual surrenders? What would connection mean then? This is an important question to consider. (Perhaps the next Question of the Week?)
The bliss that we all strive for comes from the connection of “being” the oneness.
You are quite right, but we need to be careful with the language here. I think I know what you mean. If one is "oneness," there is only connection; not "I" am connected. As I said above, the self (the I) can only be connected to itself; to its own desires and beliefs and all of that. If the self is absent, there is only connection. There is only the moment. That is all. It is not something that "we" do. It just is. But I think we are saying the same thing, right?
Your statements are always stimulating, Patricia.
The second response is from Jeff @ Micropoiltan Living. (To see his entire response, scroll down to the comments. It is wonderfully deep and intimate.)
Eventually the teachings of my religion came into direct conflict with what I innately knew to be the right course of action. This gave me courage to question and eventually to abandon my search for external enlightenment.
I was never forced, coerced, or even asked to go to church when I was a child. I don't think it had anything to do with what is here now, but looking back on it, my life was probably easier because of it.
I remember being about four or five years old. My mom asked if I wanted to go to church just to check it out, and I thought, "Why not?" I remember being confused because the older kids got to drink kool-aide but I wasn't allowed. Apparently it was someone's blood, according to the people in the church. But I knew they were lying, because why would adults make kids drink blood? It didn't make sense to me. So I asked one of the nuns, or sisters, that same question. She said it wasn't really blood. So I asked her if I could have some. She said I wasn't old enough. It was confusing to me because I could go to the store and buy kool-aide myself, but they wouldn't let me have any. I thought it was some weird game they were playing with me.
A few days later, I went back. They spoke of how the savior did all of these things. Wonderful miracles. It sounded nice to me. Then they said he died for me. They also mentioned that I should do these other things in order to not be tortured for the rest of eternity. In hell.
Suddenly, there were so many questions in my mind. How do you know? They said it was what their good book told them. How do you know it is true? They said they didn't need to know it, because they believed it.
For some reason, that set off some kind of alarm in my mind. Something was wrong, but I didn't quite know what it was. I continued to ask several questions, but the only answers they could give me were because they believed, or because that was what the Book said.
I left the church early, went home, and told my mom I wouldn't be going back again. And that was that.
(As a side note, one of our local churches used to hold what is known as a lock-in. That is where all the neighborhood kids get together, and they eat food, watch movies and have all sorts of fun, but they are locked-in the church for the night and they can't leave until the morning. Just a bit of a get together. When I was a teenager, I went to one of these lock-ins for the first time. In those days - I was sixteen or seventeen - I had long hair. I got to the door of the lock-in, but the woman at the door refused to let me in. I was shocked. I asked why? She said it was because I had long hair. So I immediately said, "Jesus had long hair, right?" And she said, get this, "Yeah, but your hair is too modern." My response was, "Are you shitting me?" She closed the door in my face. Outside of funerals and weddings, that was the last time I went to a church.)
But don't get the wrong idea...I have no longer any feelings toward church, good or bad. Besides, looking at the belief is not enough, because we are riddled with millions of them. Look at belief itself; the process and movement of belief and not the individual belief. All beliefs are essentially the same.
I do not know whether this is because people can no longer imagine life without supernatural beings and causes, or merely because such an outlook binds them to the people around them, implicitly embracing and nurturing our actual fundamental oneness while maintaining illusion in consciousness.
What is the world to someone that is dependent upon belief for survival? That is what is feels like, doesn't it? The world revolves around whatever the particular beliefs happen to be. What would happen if the person could not believe in anything? What would be the result of that loss?
This is something that confuses so many people. They get to the end of the line, as far as the self is concerned, but get pulled back into themselves out of fear of loss. They have so much energy invested in the self, that they cannot fathom life beyond it. It seems like death, they say. It IS death, I say.
People have romantic notions about enlightenment. They think they'll be in peace and have everything they need. They will gain what they want to gain. And while that might be true to some extent, there is nothing that is gained. Enlightenment is the end of the line; nothing is gained and everything is lost. Adyashanti said something very interesting on this same topic. He said (about enlightenment), "Don't go for it unless you absolutely have to." Wise words, but I don't think too many people will listen.
Thanks so much for your input, Jeff. Very insightful.