There was a saintly man, a Sufi master. He lived in a small village in the typical hut. One day a neighboring young woman discovered she was pregnant. This news was followed by the inevitable, the birth of her daughter. Everyone in the village wanted to know the identity of the father. The woman, being single, didn’t want to reveal her lover’s name so she named the Sufi master as the father. The community demanded that this Sufi bring up his new daughter. When they arrived to see to it, he said simply “All right, leave my child”. Over the next few years he tended to the child. But as you might imagine, the young mother married her lover, recanted her story, and confessed that the Sufi was not the father of the child. The village went to the Sufi and apologized “We are very sorry we made this mistake. Would you please give the child back?” He said simply “All right, take my child”
One of the first doorways to awakening is the recognition that life is an assumptive state. It’s a story that our insecure ego demands be real. What do I mean by that? Because humanity has neatly decided that it is constituted of individuals with separate operating systems, volition included, all of life is packaged accordingly. This is the base assumption of human living. But what happens when we attempt to penetrate that assumption? And further, what do we actually know and what can we potentially know, that can become the central focus of this inquiry? Rather than bore a reading audience with a philosophical discussion on epistemology I think we can all agree that we really don’t know exactly what we are. Every branch of academic study, every culture, and groupings of any kind establish as a central tenant what can be known and what can’t. Of course, this is done in order to support the reason that the group exists in the first place. Religious groupings utilize theological definitions to claim what can be known. Linguistic cultures do exactly the same. But underneath all of these meaningless tautologies lies the unexamined concepts upon which all of these conclusions are founded. And the principal inquiry that drives all others is; What exactly are we? Is each body the defining territory for what constitutes a separate individual? Or is each body connected in some way to the environment in which it lives? This would mean that the boundaries of that individual extend somewhat beyond the body itself. What about a newborn baby? Most experts take the position that an infant has no sense of a boundary between himself and his mother. If this is true, is that boundary-less state more natural than the separation in which that child will ultimately live? The answer is we really don’t know. But in order to live, the human intellect demands that it feels some level of surety to make its way. This sense of surety based on an intellectual definition or concept becomes a way of living. We live as though our claims are true. That is the assumptive state. It has a warp and woof. It’s an ethos. And even our cognition intakes those data points, like masons use bricks, to contemporaneously keep our assumptive house feeling the way our concepts demand. We live in a construction.
We could fill many volumes highlighting the things that we really don’t know, that we assume are the case, in order to live our daily life. We could point to the fact that the assumptions we live within create all of the conflict in the world as we know it. For what is conflict? It is a disagreement of held assumptions. One government demands that their own assumptive definitions are truer or more real than that of another. The same applies to religions and groupings of any kind. Further, in order to stand in such a holding, it is necessary that one ignore the fact that these assumed definitions are unfinished and clearly unsubstantiated. Separation coupled with confidence requires ignoring the obvious fact that one doesn’t really know. And that ‘not knowing’ lingers under the surface of your outer construction beaming its understanding into your being. It makes you feel that something is just not right. You feel inauthentic. And, then, you think more intellectual construction is necessary. Why? Because we assume answers to all unsettledness can be found in intellectual construction.
Consciousness itself plays into this very format. Consciousness is the enlivening element or energetic juice that makes all alive. It’s what makes life a flow rather than a bunch of pieces. It has the malleability to organize around any system of belief. And in so doing it allows its participants to believe that their assumed definitions are in fact real. How does it do this? Simple. If the ground of knowing is rooted by felt experience, then consciousness is happy to deliver exactly that feeling. And thus our assumptions become solidified in the felt experience of our own daily activity. This tethering of our ego assumptions to the enlivening element of consciousness itself is called identification. The process of identification seduces the assumptive individual into the thinking that they are in fact what they have assumed themselves to be. And further, for many this sense of surety is so strong that further inquiry simply isn’t necessary. It is likely you aren’t one of those simply by the fact that you are reading this.
But deep inside consciousness itself lies the understanding that the definitions that seemingly make up the world as we know it may not be the case. And when this door is opened the energy of seekership bursts through. The intuition that something more must be discovered cannot be denied and a seeker is born. Of course, most every seeker believes that a new set of definitions are exactly what they now are undertaking. But in reality what is being asked is that consciousness itself become an open possibility to whatever arises in any given moment. And this open possibility requires no definitions whatsoever. For this reason the seeker is driven to move out of the assumption that a discovery of intellectual definitions are connected in any way to awakening. Rather it has to be seen that awakening is a phenomenal shift in being and it’s subsequent felt experience within being. As a result intellectual concepts or definitions serve as pointers to the possibility of that phenomenal shift. And in order for these pointers to move the ‘seeker in consciousness’ into being, the standard death grip of identification must not be in play. How do we do this? By understanding that all life lived in apparent separation is an assumptive state. This experiential and phenomenal holding will allow consciousness to express itself in a different way than heretofore experienced. That different way will be naturally closer to awakening. As we have discovered, consciousness is engaged in revealing itself to itself in duality. This revealing can be pointed to intellectually but never held within the conceptual map. But be aware that your likely held assumption is that it can live in the map of the mind.
So the first step is following in the steps of the Sufi master. It’s the recognition that the story you are living is simply the one that works that day. If the village thinks you are the father then so be it. If the village wants their daughter back, then so be it. Neither of these stories is who you are anyway unless you assume and a willing consciousness follows along.