We get all excited whenever we see baby people start learning how to do the kinds of things regular people do, like walk and talk and stuff, even though we all know on some level that we're all completely ****ing insane and that a newborn infant has things way more together than any of us ever do.
What does the experience of a passing thought look like to someone who's never had one before? Probably just another object appearing in consciousness, no more or less special than the sensation of a heard voice or a felt touch. There's no sense of "me" or "mine" attached to it; it just comes and it goes, like a cloud in the sky. It’s not until it’s replaced over and over again by many, many other thoughts, fed by sensory impressions, that a story begins to be told. Faces appear in consciousness saying, “Your name’s Joey, and the world is completely separate from you! You’re so good, here’s a cookie. You’re so bad, here’s a spanking. You’re good, you’re bad, you’re male, you’re female, you’re black, you’re white, you’re rich, you’re poor, now get out there, slugger, and make sure you do better than everyone else!”
So now there are all these familiar thought patterns repeating themselves over and over again in what was already perfect, pure, unadulterated consciousness. Every morning there’s a story re-told about a separate being named Joey who wakes up, seeks pleasure, avoids pain, rejoices when praised, weeps when scorned, rejoices at the occasional successful struggle, weeps at the inevitable failed one, struggles, suffers, and eventually dies.
But what would happen if that story were never told? What if that pure, perfect consciousness which shone light upon that first thought with all the attachment of a man watching an insect crawl across the sidewalk did that with all subsequent appearances as well? Would you worry about an insect crawling across the sidewalk? Would you say, “Oh, what will become of this creature? Will it be good enough? Will it succeed? Will people like it and approve of it?” Of course not. If you thought about the bug’s affairs at all, and if you put that thought into words, it would probably sound something like, “Its life will go on until it doesn’t. If it sees tomorrow, fine, if not, fine.” Then your attention would go elsewhere. And the insect would be just fine. The force that brought it into this world would care for it for as long as it needed to be here, and then its story would end.
My experience has been that we can go back. Back to the cradle. Back to Eden. Forget all the stories; let them tell themselves. Our true nature is timeless, spaceless, effortless, nameless, ineffable beingness. We used to know this. When there was sleepiness, sleep happened, when there was hunger, screaming happened, and when it was over it was over, without there ever being a “me” there to do it. Work can happen too, you know, in just that same way. Work can get done just fine without the story of “you”, thank you very much. Working, playing, laughing, crying, loving, losing, living and dying can all happen in all their beauty and glory without there ever being the story of a separate individual around to “do” them. All we have to do is see the story for what it is and remember our true nature. Unforget what you are. Look for Eden with newborn eyes. You may have left it, but it never left you.
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