Pursue thy Life, and Live Aye with thy Name!
People seem to make a big deal of the story of the "awakening moment" - it's something solid the ego can hold on to and wait for, deflecting its death for "another time". Well, just remember that "what happened for me" is just another nothingness, made apparently "real", and exists only as memory NOW. It's always now o'clock. My fevered (and tolerated) brain tends to put a story to it along the lines of "I realised what I had been looking for all this time was my life, just exactly as it is." There seemed to be a "shift" but not much of one. The thing that seemed to die was the need for whatever was happening to be anything else than exactly what it was. And what it was, and is, is just life toddling along as it always has, unresisted. Very, very, very, very simple! The mind will complicate it; the mind can try explain the mystery of life in any of a billion billion ways. I don't think awareness gives a flying fart whether awakening happens or not. It's just more dust in the wind, a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing, but a hell of a lot of fun, and to be relished.
Despite all that seems to happen, despite our apparent determination to awaken, despite the cooked dinners and loads of wash and sitting down with the bills...there is no story. There is no time in which a story can unfold. We seem to be creatures of linear time, learning from our mistakes (or not), waxing nostalgic for a past where things seemed better, or yearning for a future when this contingency or that expediency will happen, and life will, at last, be happier. We crawl into the memories that arise or the speculation of the future and think that it proves that things have, indeed, happened before, and things will, absolutely, happen again. There are cartloads of regret for things done wrong, and barrels of planning for doing the next right thing. Yet all there ever is, is this. This is all we ever have, all we ever are. The timeless void that is this - not now, for now suggests then - is all there is. Perhaps it can be labeled presence. All is presence, whatever form it seems to take. Even if there is a sense of separation, you live in boundless infinite light. The sense of separation only hides it, it doesn't destroy it; this is eternal being, it is all there is. The dropping away of a separate person - which is, after all, only a fragile concept - simply reveals what has always been there, what always is, what is. It doesn't change what appears to happen, but what appears to happen is seen for what it is. Boundless, changeless being. You don't have to do a thing. Here it is. If there is still some sense of being apart, it doesn't matter, for that is just as it must be. For goodness' sake, enjoy it. Just relax and be. Everything will still appear to go on without you just fine.
Zen calls it "returning to the marketplace" and Buddhism labels it "the middle way". Let's call it "living life". If and when oneness is realised, and whether it is or not, life is lived. You've been doing it all along. The greatest nonexistent fruit of illusory awakening is the apparent ability to finally relish, cherish, embrace and enjoy life. To roll up the sleeves, dig in and do what you will with whatever story that seems to present itself. Paradoxically, we see that we were always exactly where we are. Live life...it's what you've been doing all along.
I've chosen the last scene of Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso to accompany this article. Salvatore, now a film maker, goes back to his home town for the funeral of his childhood mentor, the projectionist at the local movie theater. He discovers how instrumental Alfredo, the projectionist, was in shaping his life and at last views the reel of film Alfredo left for him - all the church-censored scenes of the films Salvatore loved as a child. Jacques Perrin, who plays the adult Salvatore, shows us in his reactions that the middle way - returning to the marketplace, where there is passionate, vulnerable humanity - is the gift of duality we often miss. Relish it.