Dream Network Journal, Vol. 20, No's. 1 & 2, p.10-11. 2001 .
"The Way It Is"
I woke in the night with a dream running through my mind that didn't seem to make much sense or have anything to do with me. As I lay there awake in the dark, I was abruptly struck with a huge and monumental revelation. I jotted it down and went back to sleep.
In the morning, I eagerly grabbed for the writing pad I keep by my bedside. On it was scrawled four words: "The way it is."
"That's all?" I thought. I hadn't the slightest idea what to make of the cryptic phrase -- or how to work with it. I'm used to working with dreams but this wasn't a dream. I also have a technique to amplify and develop brief insights I jot down while reading, resting or eating. But "The way it is" hardly qualified as an insight. What I ended up doing was the only thing I could: I got out of bed, went to my desk, brought a blank page up on the screen, entitled the file "The Way It Is," and begin typing. Having nothing whatsoever to go on, I figured I'd write whatever came to mind and trust in the intuitive process.
Right off, I caught myself dishing out the same tired old ideas as usual. Writing about anything else, I might not have noticed. But the phrase "The way it is" just sat there in the still center, so empty and devoid of content that my busy mind whirling around it stood out like the wind-bag it is. I saw this. "Whose ideas are these?" I wondered, because I could see perfectly well they weren't mine. Not anymore.
In fact, neither was the mind dishing them out mine anymore. It presently stood in my way.
Stymied, I stopped typing. I had to admit I had nothing whatsoever to go on.
"Not exactly so," I realized the next instant.
The manner in which my "great realization" came to consciousness in the night proved to be the key. It slipped out during that strange interval between dreaming and waking -- at a point when the one mode had already disintegrated but the other had not yet completely established itself. In a flash during this changing of the guard, a prisoner broke free. A truth got out.
What would escape into awareness in such a manner was obviously not ordinary fare. Neither a product of the dream nor of the waking mind, it issued forth from a deeper source.
The dream worker's paradigm of making conscious the unconscious didn't apply. It wasn't a question of the foreground or background of consciousness, but rather an eruption from the ground of being itself.
In an instant, a totality of meaning rushed into awareness. Like a light or a spark or a glow, it emanated from the depths and imparted a sudden illumination to everything. I felt a rich satisfaction and glad joy. Ask what I knew: I could not exactly say. That's why I could only write down the vague phrase. The knowledge had no content, in the usual sense of the word -- because it contained too much to be understandable in any limited way.
A bedrock reality underlies the various ways the mind has devised to look at things and understand things and explain things. This is directly perceptible, but only to the extent the mind momentarily slips out of gear. In that instant, truth can escape!
Operative in the mind's busy cognitive activity is a behavior pattern based on deficiency. An inorgasmic teenage girl will sometimes fling herself into sexual promiscuity to compensate for what she feels is her inadequacy. The habitual spinning mind does something similar. Incapable of receiving that which emanates directly from things, it busies itself devising meanings and interpretations to impose upon them. Like the unfortunate teenager, it's trying to make up for what it feels it lacks -- the felt sense of things, the direct experience of its own ground.
Realization emanates forth from everything naturally and spontaneously. The mind which can't see beyond its own images (in the case of a dream) or concepts (as when we're awake) misses this entirely. But when it changes gear, there may flash an unguarded instant in which the mind gets out of the way of its innate ability to perceive directly. At this moment reality bursts through, eternal and unstoppable. It's too big, this truth, to say what it is in words. Rather than a concept, it's more of a delight, a grace. Perhaps poetry or music might come close. Because of episodes like these, a wisdom unfolds in our lives, according to its own timetable and in its own way.
As individuals, we labor years on end to "improve" ourselves. Yet in the end, just as in the beginning, we are what we are. Each and every one of us. To the extent we become capable of receiving and appreciating what we already are, we have instantly at our disposal all the data we need to transform. Everything which has eluded us all these years: it's all right here, encoded quite plainly in a manner we are programmed by millennia of evolution to intuitively apprehend -- in the joy and the beauty and the perfection that radiates out from everything all around, and from inside ourselves too. Indeed, our very being is that radiation. It is what we are and so the moment we become capable of perceiving it, we step directly into freedom -- right past the guards. The ideas we have as well as the dreams we're following can't really see what we are, and do us scant justice. We must step out of the prison they have us locked up in. They take turns keeping guard, one by day, one by night. Our power of freedom is so great that we can walk right past them and they don't even know it!
Everything is the way it is! It's all moving fast, changing, transforming, evolving, towards a new perfection instant by instant. In this respect, waking reality is not an awfully lot less phantasmagoric than a dream. The mind, left alone at night, reproduces in dreams something not entirely unlike the real world that mind has evolved to monitor.
Apart from the waking mind, though, and the dreaming one, there is this third party in the equation: reality itself -- which is ever unknown and ultimately unknowable by the other two. But it is what we are and can be known -- directly by participation. The moment we start being what we really are, we are set free! This was the huge and monumental revelation that came to me in the night. We have to leave knowing behind and start being free.
To be free all we have to do is simply give freedom to everything and everybody around us! To the extent we are capable of appreciating what is, and allowing it to be, our own life will take on a rich satisfaction and become harmonious. We will have opened ourselves to that grace which is eternal and unstoppable and which radiates out of everyone and everything all around. That's the way it is -- pure and simple.