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Courage to face “What-Is” – Things as they are

The path of self-investigation is never easy. It requires great courage to go within and face whatever is arising without trying to resist or alter anything. Suffering happens when we try to resist and modify what-is into either “what-if” or “what should or should not be.”

What-is is the unpredictable and unaltered flow of life – things the way they are happening in actuality. For example, let’s say a physical pain like a headache is actual, whereas, the fear of a possible future headache due to what is happening now is a perceived fear and not happening in actuality.

A further example would be when you are arguing about a future probability such as a financial crisis, an epidemic or a pandemic, a personal health issue, old age isolation or loneliness, a future geopolitical situation, or a natural catastrophe. Or it can simply be a fear of losing a loved one, prestige, or a position.

None of it is happening right now but notice how your mind gets entangled in all these stories based on your past conditioning. Not only that, It also gives you directions to avoid a future probability. There’s nothing wrong with being proactive but living in constant fear of a future outcome is suffering.

What the mind is running away from is the emptiness or the void that haunts us in this very moment. We are terrified of facing this emptiness because it makes the persona or whatever we have accumulated through conditioning and acquisitions irrelevant. It is a dreadful reminder that we are nothing and that our lives inherently have no meaning. Who wants to go there? Right?

Notice how quickly your mind comes up with defenses when the pain of what-is arises. It comes up with clever arguments to avoid the pain.

“I want to be a good and humble person. I want to be religious. I want to be spiritual. I want to be knowledgeable. I want to be the best in my profession. I want to be a great father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend, and so on. I want the best relationships. I want a future promise of financial security and complete stability in my job. I want to achieve greatness. I want to get rid of my indulgences and annoying habits. I want people to love me. I don’t want to be bothered.” And so on.

The emptiness that we try to avoid is “me” and not something existing in isolation. The emptiness is the fact. The avoidance of fact is the defense of the mind to avoid pain. However, the resistance or avoidance of facts prolongs the pain and converts it into suffering. The more I avoid facing myself and my conditioning, the more suffering happens.

I create this measure between what I am in this instant and what I should be in the future. This measure is the bane of my existence. It is the duality that breeds comparison, and hence, creates conflicts. The total and unconditional acceptance of what-is brings an end to this measure. It brings the understanding that persona is the conditioning, but I am something beyond, the unaffected witness that gives rise to persona, and yet, is not separate from it.

Therefore, nothing is to be done to get rid of the emptiness but to see it for what it is. This seeing alone is the freedom that one seeks. This seeing does not require a separate seer. Any separate observer is a part of the conditioning that gives rise to a distorted perception of what is. In other words, there is no separation between the observer and the observed. This may sound paradoxical, but I am the emptiness, and at the same time, also the unaffected witness of its manifestation.

Absolute perfection is here and now, not in some future, near or far. The secret is in action – here and now. It is your behavior that blinds you to yourself. Disregard whatever you think yourself to be and act as if you were absolutely perfect – whatever your idea of perfection may be. All you need is courage.”

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Staying with the here and now requires courage. The irony is that we cannot be anywhere else other than here and now. Why does it require courage? Because the mind’s nature is entanglement and avoidance. Minds nature is a movement that gives rise to measure. To see this measure for what it is and to simply “be” with it requires courage. It is easy to divert the mind to useless chatter, gossip, mindless scrolling on the smartphone, indulging in substances, or losing yourself to future fantasies, but all of that persists suffering.

Over time, this default state of losing oneself to “another” becomes a constant source of pain and suffering. Relief is here right now as this – whatever is arising. There is nothing else apart from this. This is where it all happens. This is home.