The Myth of Enlightenment
The end of seeking is seeing life as it is, beyond the story, which always happens now.
The end of seeking is identical with the presence that you already are, the presence in which all thought-constructed narratives about ‘seeking’ and a projected ‘end of seeking’ appear.
Seeing life as it is, is identical with the seeing through of this presently-arising seeking illusion (which we call the seeker).
The end of seeking is not in the future – it is right here in the present seeing-through of the seeker, which is the seeing-through of time itself.
The seeker is time.
The seeing-through of time – and the seeker – is not itself in time. It is not a ‘special event’. It is right here, in and as this presence. It is most ordinary. And in that ordinariness, extraordinary.
The seeker doesn’t do this seeing. It is the seeker who is seen. “By WHOM”? There is only that question, and it too is seen.
You don’t need a ‘special event’ to for this to be the case. It is already the case – that is the point.
No future ‘event’ – no ‘energetic shift’ event, ‘collapse into boundlessness’ event, ‘popping’ event, or ‘final falling-away of the me’ event – is required to make seeking disappear and freedom appear. Because freedom never went away. If it did, it wasn’t freedom.
Some Advaita teachers say “well okay, it’s not a personal event for somebody, it’s a non-event fornobody“.
I see their point. But you have to be very careful here. Because however you word it, this statement seems to promote the idea that something has to happen before there can be freedom. And apparently, after this ‘happening/non-happening’, you’ll be liberated. Or ‘there will be liberation’. For ‘no-one’.
But however you reword, rephrase, and repackage it, it’s the promise of something in the future. It’s the old enlightenment myth updated and repackaged for a modern audience.
In the same breath, of course, these teachers will say ‘There is no future. I am not promising you anything. There is nothing on offer here. Already there is only Oneness.”
Of course, in the end, it doesn’t matter what these teachers say. Ultimately, it’s what you hear.
So, do you need this ‘happening’ to be free? Is there a ‘before’ and ‘after’ liberation?
Is an ‘event’ necessary?
The answer is very simple, if you are open, and are prepared to drop all of your previous conclusions.
Any kind of ‘happening’ requires time. ‘Before’ and ‘after’ require time. Playing with language and repackaging the ‘event for somebody’ as a ‘non-event for nobody’ is simply another way to keep the seeker hanging on, and therefore trapped in time. It’s saying the same thing in different words. It ends up deepening the mystification, rather than communicating clarity.
Because now, instead of looking for an event for someone, the seeker begins waiting for anon-event for no-one!
This very ‘waiting’ IS the seeker.
The ‘future event’ is a promise made by teachers to students, in order to keep the students coming back for more. The students hang on in there, hoping their ‘shift’ will come soon. No doubt, this manipulation is done in total innocence. Nobody is at fault here. I doubt anybody is intentionally trying to mislead anyone else. No doubt, these teachers truly believe that they have undergone a shift. And you haven’t. One requires the other, you see. If they have something, they need you not to have it. That’s how duality works. It is ingeniously balanced.
These post-shifters (to coin a phrase!) see themselves as fundamentally different from you – that’s what it really comes down to. They say things like ‘the shift has happened here, but it hasn’t happened there’. What is this but deep separation? Surely the shift was supposed to end all that?
Let’s be clear: all events, all experiences, come and go. They have a beginning and an end – they arise and pass, leaving no trace.
What is left when all ‘energetic shifts’ and ‘spiritual awakenings’ and ‘experiences of Oneness’ and ‘poppings’ have come and gone?
What is left when there is nobody here clinging on to past experiences and using those to separate ‘me’ from ‘you’?
What is left when there is nobody there claming to have ‘popped’? Or believing that they – personally – have undergone some sort of transformation?
What is left when this very personal story of a past fades away and becomes irrelevant?
What is left then, but true nakedness? Beyond the roles, beyond the stories (subtle and not-so-subtle) that we use to separate the ‘me’ from the ‘you’, is there not a wordless intimacy here? An intimacy that was never born and cannot die? An intimacy that requires no future to be?
What is left, then, beyond all separation?
There is only this, complete in itself, lacking nothing, and therefore seeking nothing.
It what you already are, and in seeking it, you experience its loss.
Although it can never be lost, because it is right there even in the experience of its loss.
It is pure intimacy, beyond description.
It is boundless and free.
And so, in the end, I could easily tell the story that I have undergone some sort of transformation. That I have awakened to my true nature, that an energetic shift has happened here, that I’ve ‘popped’ and the ‘me’ has fallen away.
I could tell all of those stories.
But who would tell those stories? And for what purpose? To be a ‘teacher’? To be an ‘authority’ on nonduality? To be a ‘special, enlightened being’. No, I have no interest in that anymore.
Undeniably, something has changed here. Something is different. These days, life is light. Simple. Without the seeking, there is nothing missing. There is only fascination, intimacy, love. Gratitude. Only life happening, in its richness and wonder. But I’m not talking about Jeff. I’m talking about life.
Years ago, like those Advaita teachers, yes, I probably would have said things like ‘an energetic shift has happened here but it hasn’t happened there’, or ‘liberation has happened for no-one’, or ‘there is nobody here but I sense there is still somebody there’.
I just can’t say these things anymore. The assumption at the foundation of these statements was seen through, and the statements shattered into millions of tiny little pieces.
In the end, you can’t even know that you’re nobody. Even that story, however beautiful, has to go.
Perhaps that’s the true ‘energetic shift’: when the illusion of the ‘energetic shift’ is seen through. But my goodness, how much longer will it take to see it? Isn’t now long enough?
Another way of saying it: the shift has already happened, so there’s nothing to wait for. Life is already complete, as it is, and everything is already included. Do you see?
Jeff Foster (www.lifewithoutacentre.com)