Have you ever picked up a cable or cord from an electronic device and couldn’t find where it’s plugged in or even what device it came from? It is tangled up in so many other cables and cords that it seems an almost impossible task to untangle it, get behind the desk and then find where it’s actually plugged in! Move even a tiny amount and there are other cables blocking the way. Often times, you might just shrug your shoulders and forget about it. But if it is really important, you will need to sit down and look and sort it out. If your child wants to watch her favorite show and the internet stops working you’ll have to sit down and look. Or you have a term paper or major work project due and the printer isn’t connected. Is the cable I’m looking for even in this mess? Maybe it’s not even here.
This is a bit like attempting to find the root of the mind. Just when you notice that everything is just a thought, a whole group of other thoughts distract you from this seeing. You attempt to look for the mind but you can’t find it. It hides behind so many other thoughts, experiences and temporary states. Yet there is still the feeling of having a mind that often gives you a hard time. Sorting out all of these thoughts, memories and concepts can feel tedious and painful. “This is just too messy,” you might say.
But when you finally get to the point that you absolutely must find out what is happening, something changes. You see that you have to get to the bottom of this. This cannot go on any longer. You slow down and become patient as the task becomes very important. You realize you need all your attention for this task. It’s like the lion on the hunt. Like the person who diffuses a dangerous bomb. Like the tightrope walker. You become totally still and just LOOK. All these thoughts and experiences come back to you. Notice each experience arising. Who is watching? What is the same and what is different? Keep looking and seeing where it comes from, setting aside whatever thoughts arise to interrupt your task. You cannot ignore these thoughts. Similar to sorting the cables, you cannot ignore the tangled cables, you will have to carefully inspect each one using full awareness.
When a thought arises, something catches hold of it and claims it. Keep going, keep going, keep tracing back every single thought to its source. Follow the trail. Don’t lose the scent. See where it goes.
Don’t sleep! LOOK. Suddenly, you catch it. I had this experience, I had this thought. This feeling I is arising in you as well. It is not the real you. Now the real lion, Awareness, is on the hunt and has identified the prey. Now it is only a matter of time until everything gets sorted out. The mind is becoming clear and transparent. The cables are getting untangled and loosening up.
At last you find the main cable and strip away all the other cables. You go to plug it in and realize that it’s already plugged in! It always was. This is like exposing the I-thought and watching it dissolve in the Self, or pure Awareness with nothing to cling to. Similarly, you already are free and always were. Awareness has always been free. But you had to sort everything out to see it.
Now you feel it.
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This a response to the wordpress prompt: Elusive