To find out what you really are not will require some effort. You will be breaking a habit, a massive habit, a habit in some ways harder to break than the habits associated with drink or drugs, because it’s largely unperceived. Though it must be said, it’s certainly possible eventually to break this habit.
We have evidence to suggest that for at least 40,000 years the individual humans have been focused on what appears to us to be the ‘external’ reality.
This external focus has become an extremely forceful habit, one that hardly ever is even questioned, or recognised, let alone recognised to be just a habit.
It’s just like how one can get so involved in a movie or a book that one forgets that one is watching a movie or reading a book, and is completely engaged in what appears to be happening.
Worse, we not only focus on that apparent external reality but we also project ourselves into it. We are extruded from our resting state (whatever that is) into the apparent external reality, just as toothpaste or paint is extruded from its tube when you squeeze it hard.
But don’t believe me please, find out for yourself if it’s the truth.
Do you know you are in a story?
We know this happens with movies and books and even seek this out, it’s the mark of an involving story. Eventually of course the movie or book ends, and we return to ‘reality’ as we believe it to be.
Oddly enough, the life movie also ends. The question is, does one want to get back to ‘reality’ before the life movie ends?
Die before you dieRumi
Breaking this habit is in principle very easy; all habits are brittle and easily shattered. This is a fact, but a fact in principle, in theory – until it is done.
Anyone who has tried to give up any habit will know that principle and theory are not always reflective of the reality of action.
When we are dealing with such a long-established and largely invisible habit then the reality is that it won’t go quietly or readily.
Remember a quote given earlier:
…Because the senses turn outwards, man therefore looks outwards, not into himself. But occasionally a daring soul, desiring immortality, has looked back and found himself…paraphrased from The Upanishids
A point to note: If you are female, and fed up to the back teeth with the unconscious automatic masculine default in most languages (English is not the worst) then first, yes, this is true, and second, please use this other version:
…Because the senses turn outwards, woman therefore looks outwards, not into herself. But occasionally a daring soul, desiring immortality, has looked back and found herself…paraphrased and regendered from The Upanishids
The underlying point is however that the problems of dealing with gendered language pale into nothing when compared with the problem of dealing with the weight of this habit that has been established over what would appear to be thousands of years.
What we are going to have to learn how to do is to change the direction, the arrow, of perception so that for the merest moment it points the other way.
Then we will see what we see. Perhaps we can build on that. And remember, you won’t get enlightened by doing this. You might find out something about what you are not, though…