Our lives are marked by seemingly random ups and downs with rare peak experiences. Most of the time we are in a paradoxical struggle of seeking more to be free with less.
Yet everything we do we do for one reason only. A better, vaster, more liberated, and enhanced sense of self. Some realize the futility of this chase. Others are even further along and know that anything we seek is something we already have.
I like to exemplify this with theses aphorisms. Whatever you can make sense of you are made of. And, nothing can shake you unless you shake yourself.
But before we can transcend the hedonistic treadmill and the ceaseless seeking of a better self by virtue of externalities, we have to understand the source of the glitch.
Every object of desire carries within the promise of a vaster experience of self (presence). This is the existential payoff.
Every object of aversion carries within the threat of losing part of your quality of experience. Whether that is something you already have or hope to have. This is the existential threat.
In both cases, however, what is at stake is not your existence but your quality of experience (how you feel). Though this is not realized.
No object can give you a feeling you did not unconsciously generate yourself. No object can take away a feeling it didn’t give you.
This is wonderful rhetoric but meaningless without an active principle to realize it.
As soon as we become aware of any presence we promise ourselves from an object, we are already simulating our expected experience. And we do so, presumptively, even if we have never encountered the object.
What we simulate is the meaning we’ve assigned to the object. Meaning is ultimately a subtle sensation and a concrete experience. Meaning is and must be pre-conceptual, pre-verbal and pre-emotional.
The essence of meaning is a subtle motion that is internally self-generated. And the promised presence is nothing other than us permitting ourselves to fully experience what we’ve excluded ourselves from.
As we generate meaning, experienced as the subtle motion, we bury it in mental symbols which we in turn project upon on an object.
Unaware of our actions, we bar ourselves from experiencing this meaning as ours and seek the object in the hopes of getting back what instinctively feels to be ours. Yet we fail to look in the right direction to notice that we had to generate it within ourselves to make sense of it outside of ourselves, and that the very meaning we seek is the meaning we forgot to assign to ourselves.
This means that all of our desires and their promised presences are only disconnected from us by the illusion that we are not the creators of the meanings that shape our reality.
Curiously, in order for us to anticipate an experience, positive or negative, we have to simulate the experience and at the same time ignore the fact that we are already experiencing what we’ve generated. This includes any promised presence, hoped for experience, and expectation of acquisition of an object or event.
The core issue that drives this regrettable state of affairs is our set of default assumptions about the demarcation of self, reality, and consciousness. While they are, in fact, the same. We only allow ourselves to experience that vast and liberating sense of unity and total flow on freaky rare occasions: peak experiences.
But the solution is right before our eyes. Because we can dissolve the bonds of our default assumptions by training ourselves to directly experience meaning and its source, that is subtle motion — without words, symbols, and representations. As we progressively do that, we don’t only liberate ourselves from the infinite recursion of chasing the heels of satisfaction but learn to generate it.
The capacity for liberation is the essential and final goal. Not freedom as a state or liberation as an event, but both as an embodied and spontaneous skill and sensibility. So long as we know how to free ourselves from this afflction in every possible moment, we are free to continuously create ourselves, or refuse to if we so desire. As we learn to understand the concrete intersection of self, consciousness, and reality, this capacity grows in impact and ease.
This, at some point, will allow most if not all of us the vast experience of freedom, by way of our capacity for liberation, and make the rare freak occasions business as usual.