Those who know me well know that I have very little patience for “fluff” when it comes to the topic of personal growth or ones conscious journey. It’s far too easy to get lost in pleasant concepts and ideas while simultaneously losing sight of the simple fact that what we generally consider to be ‘reality’ is more awe-inspiring and mystical than one could possibly imagine. It’s far too easy to get lost in the quest for ‘god’ while completely losing connection to ‘what is’. It is a common trap to believe that the description is the described.
A common practice in our society is the pursuit of ‘knowledge’; but what do we mean by knowledge? Do we simply mean the accumulation of concepts, definitions, labels? A computer is full of those things and one would not call a computer knowledgeable (though perhaps well programmed). Or is knowledge something deeper? Something beyond the mere description and found in the rich experience of the described?
If you had never been burned by fire but had been repeatedly warned that something called “burning” would happen if you touched the flame then your ‘knowledge’ would be meaningless. Upon getting close to the flame you would have no real urgency to avoid being burned. It is the experience of the described, not the description (‘hot’), that creates understanding (or true knowledge).
For example, the practice of replacing the experience of connectedness with the concept of connectedness has been the cornerstone of religious fanaticism for a very long time. Someone who has never truly felt ‘connected’ will easily be convinced that killing for their concept of ‘god’ or ‘country’ makes sense and is the right thing. Give that same person a genuine moment of empathy and self-realization and their concept of ‘god’ or ‘country’ will no longer make sense to them. They will be in conflict (which necessitates change). Their experience outweighs their belief when that experience is deep enough.
So when you get down and dirty and leave all the optional ‘belief’ (fluff) out of the equation, the real crux of our conscious journey is simply replacing our conceptual knowledge of everything with an experiential understanding of the present moment (which is all that’s real from your experience). Our present experience, of course, is limited by the level of attention/focus we put on our beliefs and concepts. To see the beautiful view, we have to clear the fog.
Each time we have a chance to experience the described, we habitually put the description in its place (and experience that instead). Our current ‘knowledge’ fails to allow us to see the danger that lies in the fog of thought because that ‘knowledge’ IS thought. Think about it (just kidding) – for centuries we have been operating (as a society and individually) on the very same level of thought and conceptual reality. This has been the root of our culture and the root of its continuing destruction. If we were to see our problems clearly we would solve them without hesitation. We just can’t because our problem is rooted in how we’re trying to address that problem; with thought.
To observe reality, your mind, your thoughts, your actions and so on without thought, without opinion, and without judgement is to be able to experience life fully; to see the danger of the ‘fog of thought’ and have the natural urgency to remain present and aware. It isn’t easy (nothing worth doing is), and it requires commitment that isn’t based on a promised reward or the avoidance of suffering. It has to come from a genuine passion for making the experience of ‘you’ a deeply enriching one. This is enlightenment; a state where there is no such thing as ‘enlightenment’, only the experience of what is (connectedness).
It’s literally ‘awesome’.