All Form And No Substance”

Paying more attention to outer appearances
than the wisdom within.

The most important experience in life is discovering the difference between form and substance. Form is the outer ‘self’, while substance is the inner ‘self’.

What proportion of time and effort do we spent on our outer form/life, and what on our inner life? To what degree has form influenced our choices and decisions in life?

We use form to fill the holes: the emotional states of sadness, desperation, loneliness, anger, depression, worthlessness, fear, inferiority and the like. Why? Because we don’t know what substance is, or how to focus on inner wisdom.

The inner pure light of compassionate consciousness is always present, while our form (body and mind) changes. When we consider this, we may turn to religion or spirituality as they deal with our inner world beyond body and mind, while science only deals with the form – body and mind.

Religions and spiritual groups, however, can still fall prey to form and elaboration.
We may learn many words, but have little personal realisation beyond those words.

Interestingly, it is adherence to the many words and a lack of personal realisation of those words that creates doubt, and so we go back for more words! In realisation, there are no doubts, no words, no this and that.

The Buddha said, “Do not take my word for it; see for yourself”.
Whatever we learn is form. It is the seeing – the substance – that is the important experience. The ultimate meaning of the word ‘substance’ is emptiness.

We can only acknowledge the emptiness of pure consciousness when the outer and inner dialogue (our noise) shuts up, and stops confusing itself.

This is why we meditate.
This is also why we can may remain confused: we meditate (sit in silent awareness = emptiness) to realise the true quality of ‘substance’. But … if we stay in meditation, meditation becomes form. Within meditation, we have to drop the meditation to realise that substance is silent recognition – empty awareness. We now only meditate when we forget this realisation. By virtue of knowing that we forget, we remember. The moment emptiness recognises form it recognises emptiness = non-duality.

This brings us on to the Heart Sutra:

“…Form is emptiness; emptiness also is form.
Emptiness is no other than form;
form is no other than emptiness…
… all dharmas are emptiness…”


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