After the challenge from the previous day, day four felt more normal as I became increasingly familiar with the state of pure awareness (or is-ness). I was never there for extended periods, and I felt no exultation, but in the calmness there was peace. And some relief. The excitement of the previous days had subsided. What remained was the space to be able to rest in a new way of being and to recognise the mind at work in subtler ways.
One of those ways was the slight disappointment I felt because the delight from the previous days was no longer there. It seems only natural to want the delight more often, but that is the point here. Regardless of how we feel about who or where we are, and no matter how natural they may feel to us, we are not those feelings. They are not our natural state.
This had been reinforced two days earlier when the words effortless and empty crystallised as descriptions of the is-ness. That is our natural state. Effortless and empty. The words appeared as I walked the castle grounds in contemplation. They beckoned me with a deep familiarity and resonance.
I was overcome with a sense of discovery. Those words had been there in every Satsang, but here they were, rising up and demanding my attention. How could I not want to be in an effortless, empty state? It was beautiful. Once again I was moved by the simplicity of it all. We spend so much effort straining to achieve and accumulate. Yet everything we could ever wish for is right there, requires no effort, and is immeasurable and boundless.
I saw how I have strained for so long to free myself from my conditioning. As I looked out across the castle moat, I smiled through joyful tears at how hard I have worked, and yet how simple it is. As I write, I recall a line from my very first journal post in March 2000: ‘Remind myself of the universe. Seen from the greatest perspective, I have no worries.’ I was so close, even then. I had written in terms of the universe and worry, when in the spaciousness of the is-ness, everything can dissolve. No worries, no thoughts, not even personhood. Only joy, peace, and love.