You know the saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same? It’s a true observation in many ways. Familiarity plays a vital role in the conditioning of the mind. Human beings rely primarily on their individual ego identity, and even though even the ego itself changes through the years, the primary method of outer-world perception stills resides within this familiar identity of self. Preconceptions play a large role in this saying as well, causing us to to be far less alive and aware in every new moment than we imagine we might be, if we could consistently be free from the constraints of this identity and its hold upon the mind.
Hermes observed centuries ago, there is nothing new under the sun, implying that the familiar routines that take hold within human thought and life are played out in some manner throughout all of existence. The seasons change, the rain comes and goes, evolution marches onward slowly and methodically since the birth of the earth. The field of play for this majestic expression of divine creation is the earth, the universe, the finite space of material manifestation. Bound by time and universal cycles, there can be nothing new, only a repetition of themes of dark and light, cold and hot, alive and dead, and all of the other dualities inherent in a 3-dimensional world of form.
In Zen there is a similar saying: Before enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water. After enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water. Even when consciousness expands, bursting through into a state of radiant light, so bright that it extinguishes all identity, time and duality and any memory of them as well, action remains with the body in which that consciousness has sprung to life. Action in the 3-D world of time and duality goes on for everyone, whether they have attained this great realization of not – even a monk sitting in meditation must breathe.
Even though our daily tasks, routines and actions may make us feel that we have seen it all before (if not in this life, then in previous incarnations), we do receive spontaneous gifts and blessings that can catch us by surprise. A sudden inspiration, a fresh insight, a flower that catches our eye, a newborn baby, making love to someone for the first time, a transmission of spiritual energy in a group or from a teacher – these kinds of special experiences snap us out of our familiar state and wake us up in the here and now. These bursts of expansive aliveness disrupt the preconditioned ego, alleviating the burdens of the same, old, embodied point of view. They shake us out of body consciousness and the rhythms of the world, as if to say – Hey! You are the eternal, blissful, changeless, formless One – remember?
The task of the sage after awakening is to ground consciousness here on earth, as vast a consciousness as one can realize. And to recognize that vastness as the infinite identity that is you – and give it life in this embodied state. Remember this identity in the midst of action, duality and time and you can consciously play with this illusion known as form. Then, you may join the liberated saints in saying: After enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water – and I laughed all the way.
~ Check out the current state of my eternal changes at my new website – ChavahAima.com