Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fundamental change

 There can be a fundamental change.

 This isn't a change in the words, or the ideas; it's not a change in how one approaches things, a new theory, a more stringent, or more stringently applied, discipline. A fundamental change is a change that begins at the root, that has its arising at the foundation of Being.

 This is a change in gravity. It's a change in sensation. It's a change in what is received; in what is perceived. One can't read about this change; it isn't known. One can measure the depths of a practice—or lack of it—by how much of this unstated fact exists, outside the philosophies and assertions, and outside the words that are used to describe.

So there is an unknown change that is a fundamental change. It arises from mystery; it is touched by mystery, and it touches mystery. It is the brother and sister, the mother and the child, of a secret force, a higher energy that we do not know. It has a language, but the language is not the language we speak; it has aspects, but none of them are aspects we are familiar with. It reroutes the premises of life itself, as though the computer were rebooted with a completely new operating system no one has ever seen before. Even the code itself comes from somewhere else. It's not programmed with the mechanical responses we expect and are accustomed to.

There is no work that does not involve wishing for, requesting, a fundamental change. There must be a trust and a faith in work, because one does not know what one is asking for. One must just face the unknown with one's wish, with one's longing, and ask. All that one knows is that one is insufficient. This insufficiency is absolute; and only when being, such as it is in us now, recognizes that, are we driven to the inner desperation that leads us to abandon what we know in the hopes of discovering the real.

So we ask for a change we don't understand. We want to know, perhaps, what gravity is; why birds sing, what causes a flower to grow. And maybe that is all in there; we can't know. But we do know, once we are touched by something real, that everything we know is unreal, has no substance, and that the real is a mystery we have never penetrated.

I remember the moment that I understood this. I was 46 years old, and due to certain inner changes, one morning, I suddenly understood everything quite differently. I saw that I had never understood life; I had lived for 46 years, but I had never actually seen the world around me, or myself.

It was a shocking moment, because I realized that for those 46 years, I knew nothing, absolutely nothing, even though for many of those years I had been in an esoteric work, an ardent student of mystery. And yet I didn't even know what mystery was. I didn't, in fact, even know what life was.  All of this in the midst of a serial certainty that I did know what was—and I didn't.

 The realization broke something in me.

If it is possible to go through that much of life and understand absolutely nothing whatsoever, if one realizes that one has completely mistaken everything—not just one's ideas, values, career, achievements, and so on, but everything, including what is heard, what is seen, what is sensed and touched, and above all, what is felt—if one can completely mistake all of these things, up to and including the fundamental things, that is, the sensory experience of life itself, well, then, what does one know? What can one know?

One can know that a fundamental change is possible. What that means may not be clear; they don't hand out roadmaps.

But what is certain is that nothing is what we think it is.

And most of the time, we don't even know that.

I respectfully hope you will take good care.