“As long as you believe you are a body-mind, then your purpose is to become no purpose. You spend your energy becoming nothing. But do not believe you are nothing when you haven’t become nothing yet! Be honest with yourself. See where you are coming from by the way you react to your life situations every day.”
~ Robert Adams
Intellectual interpretation and conceptual presentations of spiritual understanding are very different than what is shared from direct experience. And looking at my day-to-day life I see how far I am from being nothing. I see I frequently get caught up in the illusion of me being separate from my spiritual essence. Even though I can never be separate, I forget. I forget I am love. I forget I don’t need to protect myself because there is no self to protect. My human experience and the construct of the ego that goes with it can look very real to me at times.
Rather than this being a problem or something that I need to change, I now enjoy the relief that comes from being honest with myself. I don’t live my day-to-day experience knowing my infinite, birthless, deathless nature of pure consciousness that is one with everything. I have had peak experiences and glimpses into this. I have integrated understanding from those experiences and this allows me to have more perspective in daily life, be less afraid of my emotional experience, and feel more at peace with what is. I am grateful for this, and this is enough for me.
It used to not be. I used to be like the millionaire who says she’ll be able to relax when she has twenty million dollars only to arrive at that number in the bank and say, “Well, actually, I need a hundred million to be okay.” I was greedy without realizing it.
I wanted more understanding, more awakening, and more freedom. What I had was not good enough. But I wasn’t being honest with myself. I was arrogant about my search. I didn’t see that my seeking and striving were symptoms of me feeling separate and alone and that the chasing for more only magnified my experience of separation even if I was focused on seemingly worthy pursuits such as reflection, inquiry and quieting the mind. Chasing a quiet mind is an oxymoron that I did not recognize.
Now I see that I cannot strive to become the nothing the Robert Adams quote is pointing to. Simply living life is the process of waking up to the True Self and identifying less with the illusion of the separate self. I don’t mark my progression by having more peak experiences. The understanding I embody is demonstrated in the living of my life. My level of reactivity is a measure of how much I remember who I am. The degree to which I am in acceptance of “what is” is an indicator of how much I am living from the experiential understanding of oneness. And rather than seeing my reactivity and lack of acceptance as falls from grace, I am more likely to be at peace with my understanding in the moment no matter how flawed it is. No matter how high or low my levels of empathy, compassion, and unconditional love are, they are enough.
They are what is true for me in that moment. They are not absolute in terms of my experience, but they are absolute in terms of who I am. The gap between my experience and what is true is no longer a chasm that I fear. It is a very real looking illusion that I make peace with over and over again. It is not a problem to be solved. It is not a personality that needs to be improved. It is not a psychological issue that needs to be healed. It is just an illusion that looks very real to me at times, but like any insightful schizophrenic, I can learn to not take my “small self” hallucinations seriously. They may look real, but I can listen more deeply and follow what I know to be true in my heart.
I share this with the hope that you too will have the experience of the “enoughness” that is you in this moment no matter where you are on your journey to nothingness.
I can hear Angus (my husband) in my ear now saying, “No one wants to be on a journey to becoming nothing. People just want to have a nice life.”
What I am saying is, enjoying this life is the by-product of not having ourselves on our minds — becoming nothing. And to the degree that we experience suffering at any moment is the degree to which we have something on our mind.
And I do make a distinction between pain and suffering. I was at the dermatologist yesterday because I had some small lumps on my nose and neck I thought I should get checked out. I forgot that dermatologists don’t just look at things they cut them out to look at them. I wasn’t prepared to be going under the scalpel in an office visit, but I did my best to relax. The procedure on my neck was uncomfortable, but I wasn’t scared by the pain and felt relaxed. However, when the doctor went to work on my nose, the intensity of the pain scared me. I immediately tensed and was not able to relax. Fortunately, It didn’t last for long, but it was interesting to me that I had a subjective pain threshold that had me feel okay with a certain level of pain and then once that subjective line was crossed, I became gripped by fear. I saw how each experience was pain, but my reaction to the different sensation of pain varied. And, of course, because of my fear and tension, there was more suffering with the second incisions.
I share this to illustrate how pain and suffering do not have to go together and to acknowledge that they often do. Not through any fault of our own. The suffering is simply an indicator of feeling scared and feeling scared is an indicator of feeling separate from our true nature.
So on my journey to becoming nothing, I am grateful for the experience of being something and the full range of emotions and adventures that provides. Rather than being disappointed by my lack of enlightenment, I see the richness of experience available to me in my forgetting. There are gifts in feeling separate. Just like I enjoy a good movie or a book, I can enjoy losing myself in my humanity knowing that waking up is inevitable; the only question is will it be when I am dead or alive?
My hope for you is that you can enjoy this journey and the richness of the human experience however it is showing up for you in this moment. Know that who you are is enough. May you have the experiential knowing of your wellbeing that allows you to be with what is, and know you are okay even when you don’t feel okay — I love that freedom!
There is a delicious satiation available to us through this sensory laden human experience with its highs and lows that does not take anything away from our True Nature. Embrace the fullness of the human experience! You are alive with the vitality of experience and sensation. Let’s rejoice in this part of the human journey on our way to being nothing!
Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their full potential. She is a transformative coach, leadership consultant, a regular blogger for Thrive Global, and author of the short-read Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1) available on Amazon. You can get her free eBook Relationships here. Rohini has an international coaching and consulting practice based in Los Angeles helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. She is also the founder of The Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and watch her Vlogs with her husband. To learn more about her work go to her website, rohiniross.com.