The difference between the awakened and the one who isn’t, is that the former lacks the delusion of the latter. Of course, neither of them exist at all, other than as conceptual figments of the thinking mind – but from that perspective, they appear as thinking, acting, and autonomous characters of this dreamscape in which you’re either awake or you’re not.
To the ignorant, these figments are real – the awakened knows that they’re not. While he seems to know something that others don’t, it’s actually the other way around – the unawakened is precisely that because he’s bound by beliefs that are not only flat out depressing, but also completely untrue. Such beliefs generally involve a variety of delusions including, but not limited to: him being a human being walking around on planet earth, the certainty of free will, or that there’s some meaning or purpose to be found – all of which are misconstrued interpretations of this flow of phenomenality that we know as “life.”
The awakened is free from such ideas. He no longer believes that he’s a fragment, nor that he exists at all – for he has recognized that there is no planet earth, nor any free will, nor any “me” or “you” for that matter. They are nothing but conceptual abstractions – interpretations of the flow of phenomenality – and have no existence whatsoever independent of that. They are pieces of the phenomenal world, which is what we call the manifested aspect of pure subjectivity, or Consciousness if you will, or the Tao, or any of the other countless names that have been given this-which-we-are.
And not only does he no longer think that he’s something that he’s not, but he perceives differently. He doesn’t look through a lens of conceptuality. He simply sees – not dualistically, for that would be a subject looking at an object, but in recognizing that subject and objects are not, he remains as pure seeing alone.
Seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting, and thinking is what he is. And if we take a bird’s-eye view of our own experience, we’ll find nothing other than that. Seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting, and thinking are the facets of this-which-we-are, of pure subjectivity and that is no thing whatsoever. But in thinking, we infer from this palette of sensations that there is a world out there – a world of objects, people, and events playing out. We literally make something out of nothing – we call it “our life” – and the particular sensations that make up “our body”, we take to be the perceiver-end of this spectacle.
We have created this artificial conceptual model of reality through which we interpret our experience. It’s built around this core belief that there is an objective universe out there in which we exist. And by looking through that lens, we divide what is nothing but pure subjectivity – seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting and thinking – into the subject we take to be ourself, and the objects that make up the world – and whereas their existence is solely conceptual, we believe them to be entirely real.
This model constitutes our captivity. To hold it for truth is ignorance. This book is about investigating that model, to pull it apart and see if it will stand against logical scrutiny – it won’t, of course, and by seeing through the beliefs that hold us in bondage we effectively place ourselves in the vicinity of awakening.