When the doer* is seen to be an illusion, an imagined fiction, the sense/feeling of being a doer may still continue. The sense/feeling of being a doer can arise like any other phenomena arises.
And notice – it arises spontaneously, meaning there is no doer there doing it. You see! It can be seen that even the sense of being a doer is something that has no doer behind it – it just happens, by itself.
So, in my daily life I often feel like I’m doing things, but there is an understanding there that there is no doer-entity doing it. It is all just happening.
This is the difference between experience and knowledge/understanding: I may feel like a doer, but I know/understand I am not a doer.
It is similar to realising the sun does not orbit a stationary earth, even though the appearance of the sun rising and setting each day continues. Or if you realise that a mirage is an illusion, the illusion persists even when not believed in. The sense of doership can continue even when the understanding ‘there is no evidence for a doer’ is present.
*By doer I mean the notion of being a separate entity which creates or authors thoughts and actions
This is one of my favourite verses from the Tao Te Ching, an ancient Chinese text overflowing with wisdom (If you have not read it, I highly recommend you do – it is easy to find a translation online).
Here in this verse we are instructed to let go, let go and let go again, until not even the notion of our very self remains. Here we have let go of all ideas of spiritual practice, of spiritual paths and of even letting go.
Then, perhaps, non-action will ‘happen’. This is the culmination of the so-called spiritual path: no-doer, nothing more remains to be done, nothing remaining undone – this is ‘mastery of the world’.
One who seeks knowledge,
learns something new everyday.
One who seeks the Tao,
unlearns something new everyday.
Less and less remains,
until you arrive at non-action.
When you arrive at non-action,
nothing will be left undone.*
Mastery of the world is achieved,
by letting things take their natural course.
You can not master the world,
by changing the natural way.
Tao Te Ching verse 48
*An alternative translation is:
‘When there is no doer,
nothing remains to be done’
To verbally espouse and preach spiritual things can be deeply inappropriate:
Do you tell someone who is suicidal,
That their problems are due to a false notion of self?
Or that all phenomena are insubstantial, formless and everchanging?
Or that like the desert mirage, life and its problems are a dream?
It would be like telling someone who is choking that ‘ALL IS ONE‘. Continue reading