(a rhapsody of personality transcending perception)
Spontaneous immediacy is the already ongoingness of being alive. We have no vote in this. Each of us is going with the flow willy nilly. To be alive is to be living and living is nowing and nowing is the zoom of abandon.
But we love to think we're preparing to live and/or that we've somehow dualistically stepped back from life -- even though this is like singing a song in which part of the song is singing about singing the song. There's no stepping back from the song of immediacy. The alleged stepping back is just part of the song.
Immediacy (or better, "immediacying") is the thing in itself of being alive, the This is It of pure living, not some abstract limbo of pre or post living. I can write about these matters and we can discuss them, but nothing is one upped thereby. These realizations are like a mathematical limit and forever beyond the reach of thought. The realness of nowness is the origin of thought and never its object. Tails don't wag dogs.
Relatedly, self-control is one of the core delusions of the human condition. It seems to reassure us to play that game, but it's a game we play with paradoxical abandon. The Pacific Ocean doesn't control itself and neither do we. Reality realities spontaneously. The fullness of the moment is never premeditated. However, this knowing can be deeply unsettling and the un-transcend ability of spontaneous living is perhaps the most deeply repressed truth of our species. We probably fear this truth more than death itself.
But why? Let's find out. Let's say you just suddenly realized (and realized all the way through, not just tinker toy "theoretically") that the already ongoingness of being alive is absolutely beyond the reach of dualistic self-control. When you're in spontaneous free fall it's impossible to separate yourself from the zoom of abandon so as to control or improve yourself ("from the outside in"?). Acting on impulse isn't a variable, it's a constant, and this is it.
But for some of us (practically all of us?), this is virtually a description of psychosis. But why is this the case? Isn't it because the "spontaneity constant" (let's call it that) is mutually exclusive with self-image identity? After all, the self I've been conditioned to identify with is supposed to be able to control itself. But there's no self-control in the abyss of abandon. Identities of separateness can no more live in spontaneous immediacy than moths which fly into flames.
Let's imagine we're participating in an outburst of spontaneous applause at the end of a concert. But, what do we mean by this? It means the applause wasn't planned in advance. We weren't watching the clock to carry out some scheduled behavior; rather we are acting on impulse. OK, then what's "acting on impulse", i.e., the applause is behavior that's emerging from WHAT? Did we "stop and think" and then decide to applaud. We know that's not true. The thought aspect of this is merely a sideshow. The applause is more of a "feeling choice".
Thought may try to play catch-up with the zoom of abandon, but it's always the bridesmaid and never the bride. Any house visited by thought has been long since vacated by spontaneity. But the arrogance of thought is unwilling to acknowledge its limitations and thus from the thinking about point of view (i.e., the identity of separateness), if the applause isn't answering to thought, then it must be a hiccup of randomness or a knee jerk of inevitability. Thought sees itself as the only independent variable in the functioning of our lives.
But spontaneous applause ISN'T the creation of thought! It's more like the proverbial expression of feeling. It's the self-activity of autonomous (and thought form transcending) ISness, and the same thing is true for all living. Taking in this truth, past a certain point, probably triggers the Homo sapien psyche into either fragmentation or "awakening", because these are the blue waters of nuclear transformation. Here, self-image identity is forgotten and the babble of thought is ignored. Life is now looking at itself.
Untheoretical realness is saying, here I am, look at me! We are none of us in control of anything -- least of all our alleged "selves". Dualistic control (including self-control) is a game of the mind. It has nothing to do with anything. Preparing to live is a waking nightmare. Nowing IS living and the nowing of living isn't self-controlling, it's the zoom of abandon, but the zoom of abandon isn't out of control ness or running amuck (the accusations of thought); it's the self-directedness of that which is already the case. The fullness of THIS moment is being ongoingly actualized by dimensions of realness indifferent to thought. Nowing is realitying.
Only life itself can understand itself. Mosquitoes of separateness can never bite the "Iron Bull" of suchness, but these realizations are within the reach of birthright intelligence just because birthright intelligence is the self-activity OF the Iron Bull. Here, contradictions are obliterated, and reality realities self-knowingly. Being and knowing are one.
The zoom of abandon is also the zoom of already occupied-withness. I can't "begin myself away" from what I'm already doing! Of course, thought's perspective on this is that nowing is a mere point on a time line. It's not even a verb, it's more like a thing/instant. A vacuum, at best, of potential. Thought never seems to worry about how these instants of absence can add up to the presence of beingness.
Curiously, thought painted itself into a similar corner after the invention of calculus by Newton and Leibniz. Area under a curve (or between curves) was understood to be the area under a line made up of an infinite number of points. It was further conjectured that the area under a point is zero. You can see where this is heading. If a line is made of an infinite number of points and the area under each of the points is zero, then how can there be any area (which, of course, there is) under the line? Advanced calculus addresses this problem and its solution lies in a rigorous definition of the "limit", e.g., area under a curve is the convergence of a sequence of partial sums (an informal interpretation of a limit is that it's an exact description of a place you'll never get to). It also shows that atomizing a line into an infinite number of points can generate paradoxes of abstraction. The territory, after all, doesn't answer to a map -- it's the map which must answer to the territory.
Occupied-withness is unself-interfere-withable responsibilitying (the very awkwardness of these constructions is perhaps a symptom that we're talking about dimensions of realness inaccessible to conceptual models). This is oddly similar to the realization that the Homo sapien visible world is a function the interval on the electro-magnetic spectrum with which we Homo sapiens evolved in concert and which, in turn, is a function of the relation between this planet and its associated "yellow" sun/star -- a revelation which jars us somewhat, like discovering that there's one more step than we had expected as we descend a staircase.
There's nothing theoretical about occupied-witness. It's the marrow of immediacy. It's not a goal, ideal, or remembrance. It's where we already are. But we don't live like this -- we don't even "think" like this (and acting out what we think is the "human condition"). Indeed, we think occupied-withness is precisely where we're NOT. We're in the passive "safe house" of separateness, preparing to live and/or doing our theoretical thing. But this is the consensus delusion of our species. This is the thinking about point of view -- the identity of separateness.
Occupied-withness is what it is independently of thought. It's the territorying of the territory. Pre-living and separateness are constructions of delusion. Desiring the better isn't coming from a "desirer". Immediacy is unself-controllable. The intuition that spontaneous immediacying (the zoom of abandon) is the already ongoingness of occupied-withness, is the self-awareness of life itself! This is intelligence freeing itself from time.
However, the tar baby of the world is a masterpiece of fail safes. Identities of separateness are always seeking solutions and answers. That's because where there's no seeking, there's no seeker. We seek IN ORDER to be seekers. There's nothing to seek and there isn't any seeker. Dreamers don't wake up from dreams. Dreamers are awakened from by that which is more real than dreamers! Spiritual goals are delusional fail-safes.
It boggles us to think that Salvation and self-improvement are equally meaningless. Achieving and receiving are strategies, merely, to perpetuate "achievers" and "receivers". The challenge and alchemy is elsewhere. The challenge is where it's always been. The challenge is NOW. The challenge is radical truthfulness. The challenge is to choose truth over safety, intelligence over desire, and time plays no role in this whatsoever. We don't need to "read a few more books", take a trip to Tibet, or find a validating guru. And we certainly don't need acronym advice faucets (PhD's, MD's, etc.), nor to find some meditation technique that "really works". We don't need two or three more retreats and we don't need to "stop and think". Dear God, the human condition is already virtually NOTHING BUT stopping to think!
What we need is to make eye contact with life -- which is certainly never ceasing to make eye contact with us! We need, simply, to meet the gaze of realness. Language, of course, greatly complicates the saying of this, reinforcing, as it does, the (delusional) "we's" who need to do this or that. So we have various options here. One is succumbing to the language/thought version of life by equating the "thinking about" with the "thought about" (the maya option of choice for our species). Another is mute resignation. Still another is to allow intelligence to liberate itself from the straight jacket of language by "making the best of a bad situation", i.e., to communicate with, and IN SPITE OF, the arbitrary structures of language. Language can be a useful and creative tool, but it doesn't have to be our God. The point isn't to eat the envelopes, but to open them.
So all this "we" talk is the hubris of language. It's not a validation of separateness. The challenge is real, but it's not a challenge to identities of separateness. And notice how difficult it is to deal with these matters without slipping into "What should I do?", or "How do I do it?" questions. But no advice is being given here, no formulas, and no technology. Pursuing such questions is recycling craziness.
We must stay fast on our feet with this though, because the "moral" isn't that we SHOULDN'T ask "What should I do?", or "How do I do it?" questions. That's because there ISN'T any moral and we aren't talking about shoulds or advice. Plus, this isn't a conversation between self-image identities. Something is going on here which has one foot in the world and the other foot radically elsewhere. Three-dimensionality is communicating with n-dimensionality. This writing isn't coming from a "personality", but neither must it be seen as coming from a "meta-personality" that's "channeling" its communications to us. The sun of truth shines with its own light. It doesn't need to be peopled with glorified or Greek God-like projections of personal pronouns.
Personality is now being used in the etymological sense of "the mask we talk through". It's an artifact of time and conditioning and a cartoon only of the mystery of humanness. To identify with personality is to betray the vulnerability of our hearts. Vulnerability is all of a piece with the zoom of abandon. To be vulnerable is to be real. To lack vulnerability is to lack existence. Self-image identities are creatures of memory -- "smiles" (or frowns), at best, of Cheshire Cats of beingness. The spontaneous ongoingness of already occupied-witness, is NECESSARILY the ongoingness of vulnerability, because vulnerability is "unself-controllability" and the (no alternative) ongoingness of being myself living is the This is It reality/universe.
The This s It reality/universe is where we ALREADY ARE and being myself living is what we're ALREADY DOING. We don't have any "unplaced trump cards" of potentiality or separateness. We're reality beings living reality lives in a reality universe (the soul intuition of liberation). And clearly this is equally true for all life forms, from zebras to eagles to extraterrestrials. However, the life form aspect of this can also be misleading, since vulnerability and spontaneity sound depths of voidness beyond the relative morphologies of our species. One wonders if "whales" self-classify themselves -- or classify (self-classified) Homo-sapiens.
To be alive is to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable is to be alive. Vulnerability is hard-wired into beingness. Self-control and separate selfness are merely strategies to avoid vulnerability. Of course, they don't really avoid anything, any more than death denial ever tricks death. The pseudo avoidance of vulnerability is the pseudo avoidance of the zoom of abandon. Living is unconditional committed ness. The mutterings of thought notwithstanding, self-image identity is neither a duality away from totality nor true selfness.
To think of vulnerability as a "limitation" is like thinking nature is limited because it can't be other than what it is. The naturing of nature IS nature. Should we then see nature as limited because it can't abstract itself away from itself so as to control, observe, or escape from itself? These conundrums of thought aren't solved with effort, but "dissolved" with realiazation.
The actualizing context of durational immediacy (it's not a "point"), is the home of true selfness. It's where we all "live and move and have our being". Huang-po, a 7th Century "Zen Master", called it "Absolute Thisness". Now that's a real conversation stopper, similar to Jesus', "Before Abraham was, I am." Or to play with a phrase from the 19th century, we're all in mid existential leap. There are no thought-created hand holds on the mountain of life -- and death is as real as birth.
Clearly implicit in any desire to transcend vulnerability is the judgment that vulnerability is what's rotten in the Denmark of the human condition. But, isn't this just more bad advice from thought which never tires of cooking up alternative realities to reality? Thought's version of vulnerability is that we're vulnerable to the precise degree that we can't be other than what we are. Thus, the ISness of selfness, for thought, is anathema, because the ESSENCE of thought is to "think about". Indeed, the "thinking about point of view" (the perspective of separateness), IS self-image identity and self-image identity is what presumes to puts reality into perspective.
Accordingly, it horrifies thought to think that true selfness is one with itself and therefore unthink-aboutable. But the actualizing context of immediacy is the origin of thought and never it's "object". Nowing is the self-activity of that which is already the case and the unclassifiability of this realness may be a limitation for thought, but not for the realness. This realness transcends classifiability and it's intelligence-accessible precisely BECAUSE of that. What's invisible to thought isn't invisible to itself.
The pet in our house isn't the concept in our mind. And neither are we or our families or neighbors. And neither is ANY (classified) "life-form". These nets of memory may be pragmatic and useful, but they catch only theoretical fish. "Reality fish", however, swim only in oceans of thought/form transcending realness -- in which they're neither fish nor "they's". When all boundaries become insides of outsides and outsides of insides, then all "relata" disappear into relationship. The "world of form" (which is always species specific), is absolutely without independent realness. Figures are figures only IN RELATION TO grounds, and visa versa. Interdependence and polarity is all.
And in this ocean of transcendence, self-nature self-natures with abandon. But why should this trouble us? Religion, science, metaphysics, etc., are at best, closed systems of speculation. However, all this can be LEFT by opening to the ISness of transcendence! But can this truly be "done", and what is the "way" or the "path"? It can be done because there isn't any "doer" to do it, and there isn't any path to where we already are. Nowing isn't on the way to the desired. Nowing is the heartbeat of God.
W. Christopher Epler (Bill)
more essays, political op-eds, poems, and fiction from Bill at . . .
The Liberation of Realism