Recognising The Size Of The Problem
We step out of the problem
only when we recognise the size of the problem.
On the internet, there is phrase circulating: “I am infinite consciousness having an experience”. This could be countered by, “From time without beginning, beings wandering in samsara experience unendurable suffering.” (Perhaps it would make more sense to say, “I am infinite consciousness having a problem”!)
Phrases are often ‘cherry picked’ from ancient teachings to suit a limited understanding and acquire an easy following. It is true that beings are infinite consciousness – or awareness – having an experience. But what sort of experience? It is suffering upon suffering.
The easy part to understanding the equation to our essential nature is that we are infinite awareness – pure awareness – enlightened beings. But only as our potential. The problem is that thoughts obscure that potential. And thoughts, ideas, concepts and habitual fixations are deeply engrained in our minds and bodies even before we are born.
The more we recognise the size of this problem, the easier it is to step out of it. Actually, the more we see, the larger the problem appears – and the greater the sense of urgency. This keeps us sharp! 😀
We can start by looking at the top first – at the 8th and 9th consciousnesses*. During the pointing out instruction (if we have a good teacher), we go through an exercise of moving in and out of Rigpa – pure awareness – empty essence.
Here is an example of the extremely subtle nature of the problem: in the 8th consciousness (called Alayavijnana) there is an experience of ‘I am in stillness’. In the 9th consciousness (pure awareness) there is just stillness itself. No ‘I am’. There is no observer observing. No duality. The 8th is a relative state and the 9th is absolute reality. There is a very subtle difference to be acknowledged, so that we recognise this difference and are not imprisoned in a vague state.
This is a matter of precision, and begs the question, “Where are we most of the time?” Answer: In our thoughts, ideas, concepts, fixations. In our imagination. We have been caught in this illusion since beginningless time, wandered in samsara, suffering. If we ignore this, then who knows what form we will acquire in the next incarnation? A rabbit may have infinite consciousness having an experience, but can do nothing about it, and is not even aware that it is infinite consciousness having an experience – it’s not aware of its own awareness.
There are two parts to our potential enlightenment: recognising our true nature of pure awareness, and sustaining it. We sustain it by stepping out of our karmic enslavement. First, we have to recognise the size of the problem…and then panic! 😀 😀 😀
*type in search for ‘eight consciousnesses’