You are, underneath whatever labels and roles you might imagine yourself to be, a shifting experience. When you are fully present and walking a garden path, you are most fundamentally the experience of walking a garden path. When you are lost in memory, you are most fundamentally a mind browsing the residues it has collected. When you are planning and scheduling out the future, you are most fundamentally a mind projecting the cause and effect patterns you see in residues out to some imagined alternative version of yourself. Even now, you are most fundamentally the experience of reading – nothing more or less.
This fluid essence of life, the shifting experience, is set within a picture frame. The picture frame is the boundaries of your experience, the extent of your openness to the mysterious unveiling of the current moment. Creation itself is the unbounded current moment; that which you are unaware of is outside the picture frame.
Mind is, among many other things, that predictive power of future self. That’s good insofar as it goes – you set the timer to know when you’re done working out, you plant seeds to harvest the garden, you abstain from alcohol to prevent a re-descent into the madness of oblivion. These filtrations of action are how we attempt to move the picture frame. The darkness of ego – the selfishness and fear that is a set of mis-identifications of self – makes the picture frame smaller. The light of spirit – that which is revealed by the dissolution of ego – makes the picture frame bigger.
When we begin, we revel in the shifting experience. Then we become entranced by the intoxicating feeling of power gained through success of the predictive mind. Yet, this intoxication is ignorance because the running waters of creation can’t be changed by such as we. We can move the picture frame, yet still the rejected self we attempt to move away from continues to be in creation – we simply blind ourselves to it if we are successful, we simply manage to look elsewhere. Even spiritual work, which enlarges the picture frame, is blinding in this way.
When we comprehend the paradox of predictive work for spirit – for the One has no borderlands and contains every picture frame as just another part of experience – we are freed from the endless striving which arises with the ego. We begin to sober from the intoxicating feeling of power. When the ego is dissolved, so is the picture frame. To seek to dissolve the ego and the picture frame is to reinforce them – for it is striving. To sit in meditation with an open ear and mind is freeing, but to sit in meditation searching for freedom bounds you in chains.
All the magic and mystery of creation is here with you now. In these running waters lie all miracles and grace. You can’t make it arise, for it has arisen already. You are the experience of the sound of the crying baby. You are the sensations of this awkward body arising and subsiding. The buzzing bee that crawls on your arm without stinging you is you, those clouds are you, all these memories and hopes are you. You are sometimes feelings of sadness and sometimes feelings of exultation. In all this duality – all flickering insignificance and immortality, every final defeat and each ultimate victory – is a single fluidity. You are everything human, everything natural, everything inside and outside of time.
And all this is me too, even if I am looking elsewhere. Even the “looking elsewhere” is both of us.
Rest for a while in the arms of the Beloved, instead of striving so desperately to embrace Him.