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Friday, October 19, 2012


"Life is not a task. There is absolutely nothing to attain except the realisation that there is absolutely nothing to attain."

So says Tony Parsons.  I believe him.  Or at least, I want to ...   but believing is not enough.  Or rather, it is too much, a surplus, unnecessary. I don't seem to be able to help believing him, though.

"There is absolutely nothing to attain  ..."  Hell's bells, if this is really true, why am I worrying about my wayward teenage son drinking brandy with friends???

 Here is more of Tony's stuff from "The Open Secret:"  (my italics)

There is nothing apart from the boundless everything and yet, because it is free, it can appear to be separate from itself . . . it can appear to be the story of me. There is nothing right or wrong in that appearance which is wholeness apparently happening.
Contracted energy seems to arise in the human being and create a sense of separation out of which arises a unique sense of identity . . . a self consciousness. The me is born and the story of me seems to begin. Me is the story and the story is me and one cannot exist without the other. They both only appear and function in a dualistic subject object reality. Everything seems to be personally experienced as a series of events in real time happening to a real me. Within that story time, journey, purpose and free will and choice seem to be real.
This sense of separation is not just an idea, a thought or a belief. It is a contracted energy embodied in the whole organism which influences every experience. As a consequence the me experiences a tree, the sky, another person, a thought or a feeling through a veil of separation. It is as though me is a something and everything else is lots of other separate somethings happening to me. What arises from this once removed sense is a subtle feeling of dissatisfaction. A feeling that something is lost or hidden.
For most people this sense of dissatisfaction is not that apparent, and because they believe they are individuals with free will and choice they seem motivated to try and create a successful story . . . good relationships, good health, wealth, personal power or whatever else.
However, for some there is a greater sensitivity about something else that seems to be missing. This feeling generates a longing for a deeper sense of fulfilment. There can be an investigation into religion, therapy or the meaning of enlightenment. Because the me has become convinced that it has the means to influence its story, it also assumes that it can find deeper fulfilment through its own choice, determination and action.
The me may, for instance, go to a priest or a therapist or a teacher of enlightenment in order to find what it thinks it needs.
Often because the me feels it has lost something, there can be a sense of inadequacy and so what is pursued is a teaching that satisfies the need to do something which will bring about a personal transformation and make the me worthy of fulfilment. All of this activity is apparently happening within the story of me which is functioning in an artificially dualistic reality. So me is searching in the finite for that which is infinite. It is a something looking for another something, and what it really longs for remains unobtainable by already being everything. It is rather like trying to catch air with a butterfly net. It isn’t difficult, it is wonderfully impossible. The essential futility of that searching inevitably fuels the sense of a me who feels even more unworthy and separate.
However, in the seeking activity there can be experiences along the way that encourage the me to search further and try harder. Personal therapy can bring a transient sense of personal balance in the story. Practices like meditation can bring a state of peace or silence. Self enquiry can bring an apparently progressive experience of understanding and strengthened awareness. But for awareness to function it needs something apart for it to be aware of. Awareness simply feeds separation, and a state of detachment can arise and be mistaken for enlightenment. All of these states come and go within the story of me.
The basis of all teaching of becoming enlightened is the idea that a change of belief or experience can lead to a personal knowing of oneness, self realisation or of discovering your own true nature. The whole investment in a progressive path goes on feeding the story of me attaining something. Even the suggestion of personal surrender or acceptance can be initially attractive and bring a satisfying state . . . for a while. There are many so-called non-dual 'teachings' which feed the story of me becoming liberated.
However, the oneness that is longed for is boundless and free. It cannot be grasped or even approached. Nor is there anything that would need to be done or changed or made better than that which is already everything.
The me experience can be very convincing because “the world” it lives in seems to be dominated by lots of me’s in lots of stories. But the me construct is inconstant and has no foundation. All of the me story is only a dance of wholeness which is without significance or purpose.


  1. Malcolm,
    Even this description is an attempt at post-modern deconstruction, which always deconstructs itself, delightfully. I'm never quite sure knowing this or agreeing with it or disagreeing with it has any value. Certainly the idea of story feels valid, except the story is endless varieties of partial stories, most ignored and discarded and some clung to and burdened with meaning. Perhaps developing a more deft hand with how "we" tell our own stories to ourselves and others could be useful for feeling more happiness and less anxiety. Feeling good feels better than feeling bad, so there's that, for what it's worth.

    Interesting ideas.

  2. All the "me" experiences have no real significance with out a "you" in my opinion.


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