What is Life ?
To find out what life is, be alive. In a way, it is like anything else: how to see? See! How to listen? Listen! How to be? Be, be real. While many folks today complain they are out of touch with that which is genuine in themselves, in fact everybody has a sense of what is most real, and only real in themselves, it is that which is aware, right this very instant. Awareness is alive, present, here, and is the source of life, and is utterly, effortlessly present, always. This is the situation for everyone, and that is why this is so simple. Before there was the thought of 'I' and other, before there was the presumption in a 'me' and all that it implies, believing in something that is not there, and repeatedly telling oneself that one is something one isn't, such as, "I am this, I am that, I am so and so, I am such a person,", and whatever it is, it is not really true, it is thoughts, beliefs, it goes on, snowballs into "They are like this, he/she is like that, it is like this or that, he/she/they/it should be like this or that." And then into "I want this, and don't want that."
And what happened to simplicity of pure being, innocent of lacking and wanting? Was it ever lost? Not really. Thought is entangled with time, with the world, and yet in no time at all, a dream that seemingly has been going on for a minute, an hour, a day, or many years, ends, vanishes, into it's basis which is always aware, here, utterly still and unformed as what appears upon and within it, not different from it, is vibrant, energetic, dancing as forms, and moving and shaping, yet made up of nothing at all, the nothing that is consciousness.
Prior to the subtlest sense of 'me', yet here no matter what complexities may be dreamed up, Awareness is ungraspable, unreachable, not being an object- it is always here, as itself, right now. You cannot reach your hand to touch the same hand! You can see everybody else's eyes, but not your own eyes - at least not without a mirror. As a result, there is no goal, no attainment, no achievement, awareness cannot achieve or attain itself.
Yet one can notice the difference between being genuinely oneself and pretending to be something one isn't. To presume to be anything at all is a form of pretending. Any set of clothes is a costume, and we are not our clothes. We are all naked underneath our clothes, and yet we are not our bodies either, it is another costume. Our thoughts, and emotions are yet more costumes. The impulse towards genuineness, and towards living a genuine life, comes out of the same impulse towards liberty on any level, and most particularly the impulse for spiritual freedom, the impulse towards discovering and living from what is true. If our eyes are good, we can tell the difference between a real flower still growing in soil, and a plastic flower easily, and if not, we can touch and feel the difference. What makes the real flower real? Or the difference between thinking about an apple, talking about an apple, and actually picking up an apple, and taking a bite.
One can speak about Awakening, Life, Truth, Illumination, Enlightenment, Liberation and all the notions that one has and about what these words mean for you, and they mean so many different things for so many leading to confusion often instead of pointing back to non-conceptual Being.
One can speak about all the suggestions, methods and non-methods for getting there, yet it is all words, ideas, theories - it is indirect, 'about' something, a projection in the future, a spinning around in thought, rather actually being and noticing what one is and what is going on right now.
There Is no future. There was no past. There is no time, period, and there is nobody who is lost, deluded, asleep, that has to awaken later, even in a postulated Now that seems so slippery. That which is real, that has any life whatsoever is ever-aware, and there are no levels to awareness, already and ever-awake, not limited to any-one-body-consciousness, and it is that in which all bodies, all forms, all realms, all thoughts, all life forms, all life forms' experiences in waking or any other so-called states of consciousness are apparently appearing to or appear upon - literally no one!
This is the liberating shock of realizing that there is nobody behind it all, there literally is nobody, and hence no resistance to life, to the inherent freedom of being in all that spontaneously and naturally appears upon and out of this, what has been called called by the Buddha as the Unconditioned, or the Unborn, or the Deathless.
Life, real life, which is unconditioned, unmanufactured, un-thought up, has the qualities of being birthless and deathless. As is energy, or life force, and the primordial awareness behind it all.
Furthermore, all that can be said or written about this is seen to be inadequate to describe what cannot be described or captured in words, once this is clear, in a moment of opening into grace, words (including these words), can be happily discarded - what can be said is certainly not it.
Now here are some more questions: What came first, life or the awareness of life? What came first, the universe, or the awareness of the universe? Is there a difference? Is the universe within awareness, is it a product of awareness, is it a mirage, not really there, or is it like a mirage, and the viewer of it a mirage as well, all appearing on a screen of consciousness. The world, the mind, the consciousness that it all seems made up by, where does it all come from? What is it that I am? What is the relationship between time and the Timeless?
Time seems to go by very quicker and quicker the longer one lives, it doubles and triples up in speed, so many have reported, and not just in modern times - the Buddha reportedly encouraged his students not to procrastinate, but to realize the truth as soon as possible, which means now, and he warned that old age sneaks up on one like a thief in the night, that time goes by so fast, a whole lifetime can seem like it has gone by in a blink of an eye.
It takes absolutely nothing to be alive, life is energy at play, and the force of life, cannot be manufactured of destroyed, it takes no time, and nothing needs to be, or even can be done.
Be still, now, unplug the machine of dreams now, and open up instantaneously to that which is always open, and find out for oneself, for yourself, first hand.
Look: The sun rises, shines, and sets, the wind blows and calms down, the branches of the trees sway in the wind, the dog barks, the snow is falling, the truck is honking. Here, see, this moment, being as we are, the bondage of the belief, the thought, of being a 'me' separate from life itself, in fact of being anything or anyone at all, is over, as it is so very obvious it never began - there never was a problem, a division.
To be awake, it is synonymous with being alive, to be really here, and we are only ever here, and only alive, whether there is a body or not.
Before thought, before the movie starring 'I' was dreamt by consciousness, there is the ever-present primordial bright awareness.
All life comes from this, is infused with and by this, and is none other than this. This, whatever this is, just as it is. Notice, it is here in the particulars of what is occurring right where you are now.
When life seems to drift by, a question to ask is "What is drifting by, and to whom?" To really ask, wholeheartedly, "What am I? What is Life? What is all of this?" to ask, and really mean it, with all of your heart, "I really, really want to find out, Now, right now, what is this that I really am?"
What does it take to stop dreaming? If a dream, by definition, and by experience, is that which is not, like a mirage, it is not, how can one end that which has never begun. To try to do so, keeps the assumption of what is not going.
Who, really now, who dreams, and who stops dreaming? Who or what, so ever aware, is that which is present behind all dreams, that is aware during the days and nights, that is shining forth within all life-forms, that is behind all that appears, that is the basis of all knowings and unknowings.
Life comes from and is our very self, and is the very essence that all appearances appear to and come out of. No one has ever been separated from life, apart from life. It is the sense of being divided in oneself, that there seems to be a separation from life, and with that the sense of being a victim of circumstances.
There is another question to sincerely, with all of one's heart, to ask, and that is,"How do I leave the known and go into the Unknown?" This is a koan, as the 'I' is the essence of the known, it is the known. And yet it is imperative to be free of the known, or the belief in 'me', and yet there is no 'me' to be rid of, there cannot be a someone to be free of the known. To try to get rid of a 'me', of the known, is the very activity of the known.
The climax, the moment of reality, for the whole spiritual journey, is the moment, the instant, This Instant, when one leaves the known for the Unknown. Or leaves the dream for the Real. Or leaves time for the timeless.
What we Are, ever present, is unmistakable. It is not constructed by thought, not produced by actions, we always, always are only this. It is what is in common in every moment, every state, every form, it is the basis of all.
So to be real, is to give over to the heart rather than to doubt, to leave behind an imaginary 'me' for what has and will always be aware, what is simply here, in the simplicity of breathing, of smelling the odors, of touching and being touched, of being open to what is now and being available to whatever can happen or not happen next.
Life is essential. When one sees there really is no time to waste, not even a second, the impulse to stop procrastinating and to stop pretending Now to be anything that one isn't, is given over to.
When it is for real, it it is the leaving behind what is false, what is thought-up, the end of dreams, the end of doubt in what has always been, and always been obvious, the closing of the great division, and the opening up into the limitless expanse of life...
If day to day life is a denial of life, an expression of doubt, fear and compromise, of dreaming, it will have to be abandoned when the living fire of Realness and liberation is blazing away. It is exactly like awakening from a dream at night.
When the impulse to awaken out of a dream happens, and is given over to, the dream disappears, it has to. If one resists, (and it is always an apparent 'me' which is the motor behind keeping the dream going), then the dream keeps going.
At some point, it is really seen it is only a dream, a thought, and the 'me' behind it is also a thought, nothing substantial, and the dream is dissolved into the light of the day, and it is the same in terms of the waking dream being abandoned, arisen from totally, into the brilliancy of that living Presence that is obviously ever here.
Then, life goes on, as it does. Things that are not in accordance with this natural way of living will either drop away or be dropped sooner or later. Living genuinely is being lived by that which is the source and substance of life, where all life that has sprung up on the planet has come from.
The original nature or primordial awareness, is not a thing, yet not a nothing, it could be called the no-thing which is also not-nothing. It could be called cognizant actuality, or conscious realness, that is ever existent.
No matter what has happened in one's life, no matter how horrible or outrageously complicated and difficult one's life may seem, or how much in turmoil one's mind may seem to be in, this original nature, which is non-personal, not limited to the personal, and not-a-thing, is ever luminous and free, free of consciousness and unconsciousness. All that has been thought up in life, all the pleasant and traumatic experiences, all the good and bad karmic results, have never touched This, it is ever free.
A genuine heartfelt calling out for authenticity in oneself comes from the Authentic Heart, from that before inner conflict and confusion was born, before the the division of the unknown into perceiver and perceived, subject and object, form and formless, I and other.
There is only one possibility, and that is what is the actuality. It can't be figured out, while it is unknown to the mind, it is certainly not hidden, but ever evident, as what is here, obviously here.