fall into the open space of not knowing

Who (or what) am I?
isthis right here, right now?
When everything perceivable and conceivable disappears, what remains?
What was your face before your parents were born?
To whom is all of this happening?

These questions are not asking for conceptual answers. The thinking mind is in the business of finding answers. That’s its job. It’s a survival function. And in a certain realm, it works beautifully. But when it comes to these ultimate questions, it doesn’t work at all. Any answers we come up with are just dead words, dead ideas…
These meditative questions are not looking for answers, although we can easily supply answers with the thinking mind. If we’ve been around the spiritual scene for any time at all, we probably know all the “correct” answers to these questions.
What am I?
“Pure Consciousness,” we might think…
Or (another “advanced “answer) we might say, “Nothing at all.”
Or, “empty space.”
Or, “The One Self”…
But notice right now that these are all words. Labels. They may be pointing to something that is not a word and not a concept. But the words themselves are not that to which they point.
It’s relatively easy to learn the right answers, the right words–to talk the talk. But these questions are inviting something else entirely. They are inviting us to fall into the open space of not knowing, to “suspend the habit of reaching for a word or phrase with which to fill the emptiness opened by the question.”(Steven Batchelor)…
This kind of meditative inquiry begins with letting all your answers and beliefs go, and not knowing what you’ll find, always being open to the possibility of seeing something entirely new and unexpected.
Liberation isn’t about finally getting the right answer or picking up a winning solution. It is about seeing through the imaginary problem (the misconception) at the root of our suffering and confusion. Any answer, any solution we pick up and stick to is a new problem. Inquiry dissolves all the answers.
Unlike seeking, which is result-oriented and rooted in a sense of dissatisfaction and incompleteness, this kind of meditative inquiry is rooted in curiosity, interest and love…
Much as a child explores the world with open curiosity and wonder, this kind of inquiry is a form of play and self-discovery. It is not something you finish doing. Seeking answers and experiences can fall away (if you’re lucky). But inquiry is a life-long exploration and discovery that is never finished. It is a way of being. In fact, it is the very nature of life itself.

Joan Tollifson from Nothing to Grasp
Non-Duality Press 2012


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