When I speak with people about this mystery of oneness or Nonduality or consciousness or whatever name we decide to give it, I usually explain that for me awakening has been a gradual unfolding and that there are times when unity with all that appears is very much lived and there are other times when the story of me and my life takes over and suddenly, I’m lost once more in separation.

Spiritual seeking for me has always been about going beyond the confines of duality, where light is always balanced by dark, where pleasure gives birth to pain (and vice versa). If anything of value at all has been seen in the moments of awakening, it is that no one goes beyond duality. It’s been said many times before, but when awakening happens no one wakes up. Suddenly, there is just life happening.

The seeker in me wants to benefit from the experience of awakening and will always hold out some kind of belief that my life will improve as a result of seeing and living as wholeness. The sort of improvement the seeker wants is a life with no more pain, no more illness, no more poverty, no more suffering of any sort. The seeker lives in separation and so will always reject some aspect of life in favour of some other aspect of life. Life however is already whole and complete, even when pain or illness or poverty is happening.

Suffering is only suffering when it’s happening to me. When my life falls apart, it hurts. It hurts me and it might hurt the people who care about me. When I am ill or when I am experiencing emotional distress or confusion, I want freedom from it because it feels bad. I might look at the suffering that is happening and declare: ‘I did not chose this! I never wanted this! Why is this happening to me? How can I fix this, what do I need, who will help me?’

And then I might look at the core assumption in all of that: me, myself and I. I look with a kind of childlike curiosity to see if I can find me, myself and I. And all I ever find is life. Even when I look and wonder what it is that is doing the looking, all I ever find is life happening as that. And then the suffering, the pain, the illness, the distress, the drama is just as mysterious as the ripples on a pond or a thunder storm or the eyes of a newborn baby.

Life is the mystery and it is beautiful because it is a mystery. I am life, you are life and as life we are already complete. The mystery of life, the mystery of consciousness, the mystery of wholeness is seen through the being of it.