Nondual Zen Article:

Am I Making Myself Clear?

nondual title

Am I Making Myself Clear?
by Kathleen Sutherland

Am I clear today, in this moment? When I pose that question I must keep in mind, who is asking? That will determine the answer. If Kathleen is asking whether she is clear, she’ll examine her mood, thoughts and feelings, and her answer will be ambiguous. She can get lost in the wondering, and then start tinkering, trying to think her way to what she imagines to be greater clarity.

This ego, the character, routinely forgets she neither awoke nor needs to stay clear. She is cloaked with the illusion of a body-mind and its thoughts. Reference through these cannot pierce the illusory world; they are part of that world. You cannot think your way out of a box. You must change your point of view, literally. Notice you’re far beyond the box.

Wanting clarity for the ego is like a character in a play wanting to feel like the actor. The actor reclaims her full sense of self simply by dropping out of character. She can resume or drop her role as needed with ease. The character being played cannot do the same. She cannot feel like the actor, nor can she even know herself. She is a fiction. Only the actor ever knows either herself or her role. After all, she’s the only one there.

Don't endeavor to feel clear or peaceful or at one with the world. As soon as you strive for these, know that you are misidentifying with the one in the drama, the character. Step back into your true self and see that you are already clear and at peace. You always have been and always will be. You can’t be otherwise.

Don't be codependent to your persona, this body-mind you’re hung with. Don’t try to awaken or clear it up. It's as futile as telling a friend they need to awaken. When they respond they don't feel awake, you endeavor to explain, hoping that one of these days they'll get it. They likely would not appreciate it. Leave them be. Most of us know not to proselytize or speak too much of our spiritual insights with those who aren’t open to the message. Treat yourself with the same courtesy. Your character is not interested, and never will be. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t study, meditate or do what we can to awaken and remain clear. But the purpose of such practices is to evoke a shift in identity, to allow the actor to remember she’s playing a role.

Be yourself. You are crystal clear. As you abide in that, clarity will flow through your character, to those around you, to the world. That is how we lighten the load for ourselves and others – not by awakening anyone (including ourselves), but by recognizing and resting in our true nature. You can be of great help to the character, guiding her in life. In this way she attains more peace. But don't expect her to emulate you perfectly. You are transcendent, love, everything. You are all seeing and all powerful. No human can become nor even imitate that.

Study, read, listen, think, talk, meditate, pray, inquire. These practices serve not to clear you up, but to give you enough distance from the one veiled in body and thought to recognize that she is only a pinpoint of your whole being. You are the vastness, and she is but one of your reflections.

I no longer need wonder whether I’m clear. Of course I am; I’m as clear as this luminous reality displayed before me. If I don’t feel clear, it means I’m not feeling like myself; I’ve slipped too far into character. The work then is to drop out of character and reclaim myself. The play goes on, but I know I’m only acting. On that, I’m perfectly clear.