Non-duality, Zen, Advaita, Enlightenment, Awakening—What's it all about?
It is the dissolution of every answer to that question. Waking up now to the immediacy of this moment—breathing, heart-beating, sounds of rain or traffic, a dog barking, the cheeping of a bird, ever-changing sensations in the body…the open, awake presence beholding it all.
Everything in present experiencing is dissolving instant-by-instant like snowflakes in a fire. The apparently separate forms are inseparable happenings like waves in the ocean. Looking closely, we may discover that no actual boundary can ever be located in direct experience where "inside of me" turns into "outside of me."
Every night in dreamless deep sleep, the whole show vanishes completely along with the phantom observer. What remains? Any answer (anything perceivable or conceivable) is absent in deep sleep. And yet, what remains in deep sleep is Here / Now, showing up as dogs and cats, beaver dams and skyscrapers, hurricanes and torrid love affairs, thoughts and sensations, music and imagination, meditation retreats and war zones.
Are we separate from this ever-present, ever-changing happening? Are we in control of it? Is anything that shows up actually a distraction or a mistake? Is anything lacking or in excess? Do we really know what anything is? Is there a thinker authoring the thoughts, or is the thinker itself a thought? Can we see that every thought, feeling, urge, interest, decision, indecision, intention and action appears here in the same way that the brain, the breath, the wind, the clouds, the trees, and the galaxies appear here? How solid and substantial is any of it?
The bare actuality of present experiencing is immediate and impossible to doubt. What we can doubt and argue about are all the ideas, interpretations and explanations of this living reality—the abstract maps and models drawn by conceptual thought. Maps are useful, but when we mistake them for the territory they describe, we suffer. The living reality is both ungraspable and inescapable.
In the openness and simplicity of being just this moment, we may discover that nothing is missing, that the turbulent, overcast weather is as integral to this happening as the calm, sunny weather, and that none of it is really a problem in the way we think it is.
The freedom and happiness we long for is not "out there" somewhere; it is right here. By seeking it, we overlook it. Enlightenment is not some finish-line that we cross. It is what we already are: the living reality Here / Now.
To be awake in this moment is to see the Beloved everywhere, to know that everything is sacred, to be the unconditional love that accepts everything and holds on to nothing.