Excerpt About Knowing

Not Knowing Where to Stand

We began this book by looking at the relationship between the particular individual who practices and the larger reality that is manifesting realization. In order to understand that dynamic of realization—the fulcrum of the path—we had to resort to the view of totality. What we discovered is that we cannot fully understand the relationship of practice and realization from the perspective of any one state or condition of realization, regardless of how profound or enlightened it may be. The view of totality is both very unsettling and very liberating. Its liberating power comes from its unbounded inclusiveness, which, at the same time, is unsettling because it doesn’t tell us where to stand. In fact, it shows us that there is no place to stand. This challenges our tendency to fixate and to take positions, which is a cornerstone of the sense of self. Our usual sense of self requires some kind of position—a secure perch or foundation or ground—to establish itself. The view of totality reveals that any stability, any fixity of experience, is ultimately a delusion. Reality is not only empty, but also fluid; it moves smoothly like a flowing, free void.

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