Most of our suffering comes from our belief that we are limited, weak, needy, separate little bodies and minds. These bodies can be injured or killed. These minds suffer when certain calamities occur, or needs or desires are not met. Life is a constant effort to juggle a lot of balls in the air. If we drop just one, we feel that things just aren’t “right”. We are thus always vulnerable to suffering. Even when things are going well for the time being, we worry that things won’t go so well in the future, so we make ourselves suffer even when there is nothing in the present moment to cause suffering.
Anything we perceive can’t be us. The perceiver and the perceived cannot be the same. Therefore we are not our bodies, nationalities, beliefs, possessions, etc, since we perceive them. Because they are temporary and subject to change, our belief that we are them, or at least that our existence depends on them, is what causes our constant sense of threat and fear.
The things of this world, including our bodies, are forms. We, on the other hand, are formless. We are consciousness itself. Forms come and go. We perceive them, and then they are gone. But we remain. We are the ultimate reality. Any form that we might assume or experience is just that – a form. It is not us.
We are not our mind. The mind thinks, feels, and senses. We experience our mind via these thoughts, feelings, and sensations, and this might fool us into believing that we are the mind, but, as noted before, the perceiver and the perceived cannot be the same. The mind, like the body, is something we have, not something we are.
The mind exists in order to experience forms. The great consciousness that we are is way beyond forms. Since forms are small and limited, we need a small and limited perception in order to experience them. Our mind is that small and limited perception.
We might sometimes feel a sense of futility, meaninglessness, or dread. These occur because when we use our mind, we stuff our vast consciousness into it. We use something that is not the true self to think, feel, and perceive, and it is unsatisfying because our true self feels ignored or imprisoned. As long as we use our small mind to focus on the small forms around us, we will remain unaware or neglectful of our true self. And since the mind can perceive only forms, any effort by the mind to find the true self or ultimate awareness will always fail.
The only way to be fully aware and peaceful is to put the mind and body aside, because as long as we cling to the temporary and vulnerable forms around us, we will limit our awareness to those particular things, and there will always be agitation from loss and the threat of loss. Focusing on and using the mind and body require effort, and they direct our focus away from who we really are. The true self is effortless and it is always aware of the nature of its being. Therefore the only way to experience our true self is to stop struggling. The mind cannot understand this because its very nature is to struggle via thinking, planning, worrying, and resisting. This is precisely what makes us suffer every day. Only by turning away from the mind, body, and all other forms, will we find the bliss of pure consciousness.