What's real?

Photo by Zach Ahmajani on Unsplash
Photo by Zach Ahmajani on Unsplash

“Intelligence is dangerous. Intelligence means you will start thinking on your own; you will start looking around on your own. You will not believe in the scriptures; you will believe only in your own experience.”

Good morning.

Sorry for the slightly contentious title but what is real?

And everything in between?

To my mind, it's not an easy question, particularly given the way the mind concretises everything.

But then again, we're pattern makers and creatures who need a path to navigate.

If you dare, go back to when you born. You can't remember those first few glistening hours, but you'll perhaps appreciate the experience if you've ever been around a newborn. Everything appears to be a moving, shifting experience. Or you can only imagine that it might be. There is no duality — or that's what I believe. Only later, when names are suffused with identity, do they start to understand praise, reward, love, pain and anger — and everything else that starts to build a human persona. Of course, if you come from a non-English speaking part of the world, your labels are very different to mine and vice versa.  Imagine if someone wanted to be mischievous and gave us the wrong labels. Oh, dear...we'd be in trouble then.

And my point: do the labels describe the thing?

I don't think so.

In fact, J. Krishnamurti said as much:

“The day you teach the child the name of the bird, the child will never see that bird again.”

You might ask what any of this has to do with real life? 


I'll go one stage further. If you think about your known experience, we know that everything is changing. The forms are always moving on to something else, slowly in the case of mountains and trees and concrete buildings, but they're changing nevertheless. 

And that means:

The forms that appear to be there are not really there, because each one is altering in some way and eventually disappears. There is simply action or motion. The forms are not the reality; they are false appearances. There is only movement, a streaming that has no particular form. — Darryl Bailey, Dismantling the Fantasy: An Invitation to the Fullness of Life (p. 5)

If you then bring these two observations back to the beginning: the labels aren't the forms; and our observation is not of an actual thing but simply motion — a vibrant, pulsating, glorious happening of this moment — you then have to ask what does that mean for life?

Well, for me at least, there's this magical place, where, if I'm lucky, I find myself (particularly in nature) at one with everything, knowing that I'm just part of and no different to this vibrant, pulsating, instantaneous moment. My mind is at rest, and there's a genuine openness to everything that's arising.

My regret is that, not through some act of somnambulism, but I can't will the experience; it arises only when my ego gets out of the way, and I step into a genuine place of not knowing where I'm part of the ecstatic, wild ocean of life.

Deep bows. 

Take care.

Love, Ju.


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