The Three Stages of Liberation
Freedom manifests itself as a seeming human being along these lines:
1. Being open to being open to listening or seeing Reality-Truth. A teacher experience (could be any form – human, mountain...) in life happens.
2. Contemplating it, deepening it
3. Living it out.
Of course, it was always there, just hidden. Consciousness hiding from itself, you could say. Playing a game of hide and seek.
Why? Who knows. Pick your theory: Consciousness was bored, wanted to experience, "taste" aspects of experience it hadn't before, so it has to pretend it's new. But being omniscient and omnipresent, we have to play peek-a-boo and hide behind something one created, and forget you created it.
That's as good a story as any. Until we think of another one ...
There really is no "why" to anything, as far as the Ultimate goes. "Why" is for the human realm of things in time and space, and functioning, and all that seems to be happening here. We need the hows and the whys and the whats in order to do stuff. That's what the brain is for, to play with tools and build and fix things and talk and make stories and move around and eat and shit and play. Perceive stuff. Pick it up. Look at it. Smell it. Touch it. Feel it.
So getting lost in that created world, and the suffering that comes along with identifying with it, getting attached to it, the puzzle comes up, how the hell do I get out of this now?
What the shit is going on, if I'm inherently free – as one has glimpsed before (or you probably wouldn't be here reading this) – then why do I seem to be unfree, now? In other words, why would one choose to suffer? That makes no fucking sense, unless you are into S & M.
Thus these "paths"...
We want, or need, some kind of guideposts, some trail markers, a guide (or two or three or a hundred...) in the form of spiritual paths, or methods or practices, or teachers, or teachings, or readings...
But it can get awfully confusing, complicated, and you can get lost in the weeds. Or you try something and get a "hit" of freedom, of liberation, a taste of joy and love and beauty, peace, then it's gone the next day or hour. Damn.
The spiritual world and all the teachings and concepts can be as much of a burden and crazy-making as anything else. Maybe more so. Addiction is possible here too. Concepts crowding the mind, who or what to believe, who to trust, where to go. What to do.
Some General Trail Markers on the Path:
If you look into it, you realize it by nature has to be an individual and "from the inside-out" kind of journey or thing. Why? Because the "seeing" is totally yours and yours alone, of That-what-is-Seeing: the ultimate Perceiver that is non-separate from any seeming thing perceived.
Everyone’s different and has their own individual path. Each being, has a unique expression of the One, has certain characteristics, such as: being more feeling-oriented, or being demanding intellectually (like the author), growing up with a scientific-minded and rational outlook (which became more philosophical after having an experience of pure consciousness at 21 years of age). You could call this "mind-oriented". Some are more about the body, that being their a channel of expression, such as athletes, yogins, and some artists.
A related point is that I can only say anything of any use if it comes from my own experience and honesty.
And, it might be useful and resonate with you, or it might not. There is no way of knowing (ahead of time).
I find it very interesting to see though if there are general patterns to the paths and ways that teachers give towards liberation. Of course there cannot by nature be one single universal path – even though religions try to do that, or claim that. Or certain formulaic paths in spiritual or psychological circles also seem to claim this.
If there were one path or formula, then everyone would or could be liberated, but that’s just not the nature of things. The nature of things is that this is a realm of duality, and very few seemingly individuals are going to see beyond that. It’s not because they’re special, those that see themselves free. It’s just this mystery: why does the Self veil then unveil itSelf to itSelf? Well, why not?!
This paradox, this mystery of Life, in a sense, is why we are here. Through this seemingly crazy process of getting heavier and more contracted or more lost, we boomerang back up, and become lighter, freer and richer and have more fun and more love.
And yet there is not really any becoming, ultimately! It's all an illusion in that sense: nothing happening. We are born free, only appear to get lost, then find our way back.
Another interesting observation is that one can have revelations or glimpses of Realty, Freedom, Truth, and not even recognize them except for a split second - they are just ignored, passed over, "nothing to see here, move along folks..."
In any case, no one can hand you liberation on a platter. If they could, it wouldn't be freedom, because it would be something that could be taken away.
So this first-hand sense in which Now is This seeing is not given to you, or gained or learned in the usual sense; but rather revealed as existing when something is taken away or dropped or not-held. There never was a separate object, an appearance that is me, that was mistaken for what I am, in the first place. There is just This, the Totality. Transparent and without limits or borders.
It may seem like a "you've got to walk that lonely valley all by yourself" as the old song said (as a seeming human) experience, but really, you find it joins you to everything and everyone, and is yes, all alone, as alOne, but all free and all connected. There is no room for "lonely" in that.
The idea that one has to isolate oneself, such as going to live in a cave to meditate all day, or sit on a lonely mountaintop, or be monk in a hut in the forest, is a funny one (though certainly appealing at times!): as the wonderful Advaita-yoga teacher Jean Klein said once, "My friend, if you believe and feel yourself to be separate, you are already isolated!"