On the level of acceptance, because of the major change in the way we perceive others, we now become aware of the inner innocence behind the frantic, fear-driven struggles that have obscured it in ourselves and in our neighbors, friends, and family. The great teachers have said that the negativity which we see in a person or in society is really due to blindness, ignorance, and unconsciousness. This inner innocence, once it is perceived in others, is also perceived in ourselves. All that we did was done because we didn’t know any better at the time. If we had known a better way at the time, we would have done it that way. “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” we say. We see that same blindness operating in others, and we can look past their character defects and see the innocent child within.
A: The ego can be thought of as a set of entrenched habits of thought which are the result of entrainment by invisible energy fields that dominate human consciousness. They become reinforced by repetition and by the consensus of society.
Like all of time, even the ‘now’ is an evanescent illusion. To merely notice something does not create some self-existent, objective reality called ‘now’. There is neither ‘now’ nor ‘then’, ‘past’ nor future’. For example, a road is already complete from beginning to end. The traveler does not create some special place in space that becomes ‘here’.
Q: If the ‘now’ disappears, then the infinity of Always takes its place. If the ‘now’ is an illusion, then when does one supposedly have existence?
A: Even to think ‘exist’ is to grab at a passing split second in consciousness. The absolute Reality is beyond even existence. To ‘exist’ is again a passing notion. There is a presumption that some independent, objective reality is depicted by that statement. All such statements are merely products of consciousness. Reality is beyond even existence itself. Existence is only possible as an evanescent experience in consciousness within consciousness itself, with no independent beingness or independent reality.
Q: If there is no actual ‘now’ or ‘past’ or ‘present’ and Reality is completely outside of time, then when does the ‘I’ exist?
A: The answer now is obvious; it doesn’t. The absolute Reality is forever, always. Note that the words ‘is’, ‘was’, ‘exists’, and ‘beingness’ are all denotations of time. All these statements are merely mental categories of thought.
Q: Can you please explain more about identity?
A: The ego fears dissolution and therefore resists giving up the illusion of a separate existence in an imaginary ‘here’ and an imaginary ‘now’. It fears it will dissolve into being nothing and, therefore, the conscious awareness will also cease. With examination, it will become clear that one’s reality is not a ‘who’ at all, but instead is an intensely loving Allness, which is realized and known to be much closer and more comforting and fulfilling than the prior sense of ‘I’.
When belief systems are examined, they turn out to be based on presumptions that are prevalent in society, such as right versus wrong or good versus bad. For instance, “I have to have chocolate ice cream” (content) “and then I’ll be happy” (context) is based on another positionality, that the source of happiness is outside oneself and has to be ‘gotten’ (in overall context). All these propositions indicate a series of dependencies (e.g., the Buddha’s Law of Dependent Contingencies or Dependent Origination), and when they are surrendered, the source of happiness is found to be in the joy of existence itself, in this very moment and, beyond that, in the source of one’s existence—God.
Attachments are to illusions. They can be surrendered out of one’s love for God, which inspires the willingness to let go of that which is comfortably familiar.