The truth is kept hidden in where we don’t to go and what we don’t want to see. Truth demands from us full nakedness, to become naked of all prejudices and preconceptions, to become naked in sight, naked in being.
Insofar as I project myself as a this or a that, a man or a woman, a saint or a sinner, a being or a non-being, insofar as I project myself at all, truth will be kept hidden. Seeing the truth demands cessation of all projections. As long as the projector is on, we will keep seeing the movie. Once the projector is turned off, the screen will be seen by itself.
When we refuse to go somewhere or see something it is because we believe it disturbs our secure sense of self, either by exposing it to the unknown or by destroying it. It’s our attachments to names and forms, to identity-constructs, that keep us from seeing the truth; these elaborate decorative labels, these fridge magnets that have covered up the true Self, keep us clothed and protected, at least they appear to do so.
But to enter into the truth, one must pass through the smallest hole, smaller than the smallest pinhole. All attachments and belongings must be left behind in order to enter. Once all is dropped, once our attachment even to an existent self falls away, we pass through to the other side, the other side that contains everything that was lost in transition: the other side has no other; it knows no otherness.
When I say ” I am,” I hide the truth. The “I am” is precisely what hides the face of the truth; it is the final mask to drop. But should I destroy these masks? Should I reject or crush them? Not at all; you just drop them; they’re still going to be floating around and you can put them back on anytime you wish. Transcendence is not achieved through renunciation; it is achieved through clear seeing of the nature of things.
To become fully naked is to take off our clothes, not to burn them; it’s done by taking them off and putting them aside while being fully relaxed. If I try to drop the “I am” by replacing it by the “I am not”, I am equally drawn to another label and definition, to another clothing. A thing is kept in existence by its opposite; so to become naked is not a matter of denial or rejection but a matter of suspension and cessation, of stepping back behind the play of the opposites; and even better, by realizing that one is always already other than one’s clothes.
To see the truth is not a matter of effort or doing; it is a matter of simple seeing. A saint said, “don’t seek; just see!.” And that’s all it takes, to see. And to see everything is to be fully naked, for one can see only things other than the seer; so, when everything is seen, the seer finds itself for the first time, finds itself not as a this or a that that sees, but as the pure seer, as pure seeing.
But what is pure seeing? It is the seeing without judgment or attachment: It is the seeing of beings. It is to see the chair from the perspective that I am seeing it, to see the chair as presenting itself as “being there” instead of judging it to be actually there. It is to see the body, to see the sadness or boredom, to see the excitement, to see the idea of the self, the idea of “I am.” It is to see my seeing, my hearing and my feeling, it is to see all these beings as being-phenomena, to see them precisely in their being presented as “actually there” instead of positing them (judging them) to be actually there. It is to see that all ontological predicates are actually phenomena of consciousness than real existences.
But when I see all these beings, I am also seeing that I am seeing. So, what’s there is not just beings; there is also seeing, knowing. There cannot be knowing without beings, and there cannot be beings without knowing. To know is to know a being; and to be something is to be known as that thing. Therefore, being and knowing can’t be separated. A physical counterpart to this duality is the duality of space and time, or more precisely extension and duration.
A thing extended in space must have duration in time, for it is the extension that endures in time; otherwise, a thing can’t exist in space. Also, a thing that endures in time must also have spatial extension. A thing without spatial extension cannot have time. An example of such a thing is the photon, the particle of light. Photons are said to be massless; but they’re also shown to be timeless due to time dilation consequences of special relativity for particles moving with the speed of light. And that’s the mystery of light: from our relative perspective, light seems to take time to travel a distance in space, for example about 8 minutes to travel from the sun to the earth. But from the point of view of light, it’s absorbed at the same time as it’s emitted. For the photon, leaving the sun happens at the same instance as reaching the earth. Light knows no distance or time; but to us it appears to be traveling in space and time. It is both transcendent and immanent, depending on the perspective.
Once something is free of space, it must also be free of time, for space and time are two aspects of the same indivisible whole.
If mystical union is an experience without time and space, then mystical union for a human person can be compared to the experience of a photon, as it were. To us, a photon may seem to be traveling in space; but from the point of view of a photon, it is always already at it’s destination. For light, the beginning and the end coincide. For light, all moments of time and all points in space coincide. Is that a coincidence that mystical union is described in a similar way? Let’s here from these mystics:
God is the coincidence of all oppositesNicholas of Cusa
For I have seen that dimensionless point in which everywhen and everywhere is concentratedDante
His essence is the coincidence of all oppositesRabbi Aron Ha-Levi
There is no opposite in existence to the light of GodRumi
The Absolute is the synthetic unity of antithetic determinationsEugen Fink
Mystical experience corresponds to a transcending of both knowing and being. Thus, the mystic in its transcendental state, neither knowns nor is; it cannot experience a body (physical extension), and as a result it must stand outside time (temporal duration.) Mystical union is an experience of eternity or timelessness. In it, the mystic neither knowns nor doesn’t know; he/she neither exists nor doesn’t exist. Mystical union occurs outside space and time, so one can say that to become fully naked is to transcend both space and time. And in transcending space and time, the mystic transcends all opposites, and in so transcending it also encompasses all things, including all pairs of opposites, space and time. In mystical union, all opposites are reintegrated into the dimensionless, ever present origin. Some have called it the Void.
The transcending of space and time is not a matter of making changes in one’s being. It is a matter of pure seeing, seeing that one is not and has never been inside space or time; but rather, being in space and time is just an experience, a movie with which one has been mistakenly identified. Thus, to transcend duality (of being and knowing, or correlatively, of space and time) one must only see the duality as what it is, as a mere appearance of duality. In truth, duality is not what blocks us from seeing nonduality; what blocks our vision is confusing it with the seer.
The truth, the indivisible whole, the absolute and the infinite, is always present and naked before us. In fact, we are seeing it right now, and without seeing it we wouldn’t be able to see or experience the world. There cannot be a movie without a screen; but we don’t recognize it because of our angle of vision and the force of our dualistic preferences. To see the truth is like seeing the white screen when the movie ends. While the movie was being projected, we were looking in the direction of the screen; we were looking directly at it, but we were focused on the movie played out on it instead of registering the screen itself.
Mistaking a coiled rope with a snake under dim lighting is another analogy; the truth is not other than what we are seeing; it’s our projection of the idea of snake on the coiled rope that is the source of our confusion. Upon closer investigation, we will realize the true nature of what’s being seen. The corresponding spiritual act in the realization (seeing) of the truth is in dropping all of our superpositions, preconceptions and prejudices, our bookish knowledge about things, all philosophies and sciences and spiritualities. To see what is as it is we must stop seeing things on borrowed foundations, or, to become fully naked.