In INNER KNOWLEDGE by StillJustJames2 Comments


Having the habit of sitting for long periods, abiding, with hardly a thought, as the luminous naturing of Dharmata—the reverberations, arising as sounds and colored light, of the naturing of all appearances—I was amazed one day when something unusual happened. Suddenly, I realized where I was. It arrived like a flash of intuition, only not as a thought, for this was different. It was not so much something added, as something suddenly no longer there. It was that bare perspective that normally abided, a characterless perspective which didn’t so much disappear, as clarified, no longer lost immanently within the sounds and light, but present clearly, and that clearing was remarkably familiar. That bare perspective, that abided as the luminous naturing of Dharmata, suddenly paused, unmoving, unabiding, unhitched, just clearly there, present, holding all that was arising as a mother holds her newborn child still attached, lovingly, while the luminous naturing continued, not separate in any way, as if stillness and motion were the same, and this is when I realized it was the Now—the pure unchanging, unmoving presence immanent in the naturing. This clear Now that is the “ing” of all possible descriptions of what is happen-ing. The quality that all the words I tried to use to name it, ending in “-ness,” were after.

And I realized that this was definitive. This was the pure truth, at least as much as would ever show its face on this side of the Event Horizon. This was now! The Now. And it later dawned on me, that this is how Science and Spirituality would find their common ground. We discriminate, distinguish, dichotomize, and vivisect so many things out of the vast array of the appearances that we experience, naming them as we go, so much so, we can’t see the ground because of the forest we have created with our thoughts and words. This is that ground. And it is ever-present in every moment of experience. We just don’t see it. We can’t break through all these cuts and bruises we have inflicted on the Truth. This Now, this bare perspective that is the ground, the place, the venue, for everything that arises, is covered over and hidden by the myriad entities that we automatically carve reality up into in every moment.  Found in everything by our discerning mind, not realizing that all that there is, all that appears, and all that we experience, are not many things, and are not different in nature, we take this commonality to be a pervasive container of it all. Yet, the source and the ground for all that is, is truly indistinguishable from it. We confuse ourselves, and call it Time.

The Now is not a time, nor is it Time itself. It is Presence—the presence of this naturing that arises as all that appears. It is that which sites all times, allowing the possibilities to present as they pass. It is the venue of all experience, all consciousness, all awareness, all Be-ing, and imbues it all with the character of duration. How can anything endure if there is no perspective? Finding it awkward, we make the perspective a view from nowhere, but there is nowhere else. The Now is the clearing that is that perspective. Whatever arises does so Now. Whatever passes away does so Now. Whatever is held to endure does so Now—this bare, clear perspective of Now, is characterized by limitless names, all pointing at abstractions of the Truth. But this is not a perspective from nowhere. This is the perspective for the very being of to be, the naturing of nature, the knowing of the known, the wakefulness of the awake, and the cognition of the cognizable.

It is this perspective that we grasp hold of, uncomprehendingly, and announce “I am.” And it is this misunderstanding that is the foundation for all dualistic grasping. Yet it is also the basis of all scientific knowledge because it makes it seem like time is passing and things are happening, each according to its nature. This passing of time is the conceptual time that we cognize as the fundamental dimension of all studied things, and of all practical knowledge. Call this perspective awareness and you clarify nothing, but call it Now and all becomes clear.

Phenomena continuously arise and seem to endure for a while, yet I’ve directly seen that nothing has such a single, permanent, independent, truly existing self, so how could they endure? Even so, in the experience of enduring for a while, I’ve directly seen that phenomena are evanescent, so that though there has to be a time for each to exist, a time unique to each and every phenomenon, these times cannot be real themselves for there is no entity called Time. So time must be something about phenomena, not something that phenomena exist in. And I’ve seen how each phenomenon has a formal appearance, so that this essence is the playing out of their nature. But when would those times be and how would they become? What other is there? Thought is useless to see the answer. Instead, I realized that Now, when it clears, is the only “when” that makes these forms of time appear. And this was the perspective that I saw barely as me, as I held tightly to what appeared to be. But Now is the real presence here, so I see the Real evidenced by all that comes to be and passes, and all that does, exists. But what exists is not other, so the Real encompasses it all, all of this activity, in this clear presence I know now.

It happens now and then as I abide that the clouds of appearances part and this clearing, and all that it upends, cuts through it all. I remember this in every passing moment, greeting each as an old friend in new clothing, as I continue on my way.

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James is a writer, philosopher, contemplative practitioner and theorist, living in the Dordogne region of France, where he runs a Bed & Breakfast. He was formerly a software engineer in New York, as well as a university professor of philosophy where he taught Ethics, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Nature, and meditation. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author.

Photo: This photo is credited to Mark Muir, of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and is in the Public Domain. It is a picture of Pando, the oldest (conservatively, 80,000 years old) and the heaviest (6,600 tons) single living organism on the planet. All of those yellow trees in the picture are one organism. See here for a short description:

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    An excellent discussion of the subject, even though ultimately the Mahamudra state is beyond conceptualization.

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