“The false needs time and what needs time is false. If you need time to achieve something, it must be false. You need not wait to be what you are. You must not allow your mind to go out of yourself in search.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
What is home?
I don’t want to die tomorrow. But if death was upon me, what would I regret not experiencing?
If the answer is nothing, then aren’t I home, already, always? Isn’t everything as OK as it’s ever going to be, right now? And in the next moment also?
Does this mean life isn’t worthwhile? Well, no, experience can still be satisfying. Aspirations feel good. Expression feels right. Awe feels right. Thoughtful relief of suffering, of self or others, feels right. Every such experience remains a bonus. Bonus being the operative word. Not necessary.
Necessary – that familiar feeling – is what calls for investigation. What do we not have right now, that feels necessary?
If there is a something, and that something takes time, then it exists in the future. The future isn’t real. Pursue it? Sure. NEED it? This is the crucial distinction Nisargadatta makes, and the question he implies we sit with.
Figuring and Planning
Any endeavor, whether it lasts minutes or years, recruits our special human ability to figure and plan. At what point does figuring and planning overwhelm us? At what point do we become so enamored and habituated with our figuring and planning, that it becomes the default state of mind? We unknowingly begin hitching our wagon of happiness to fantasy.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”
– Lennon, Others
What is the opposite of figuring and planning? Just being. Observing and appreciating. Being present. Being here. Being now.
We likely have no inkling how often our minds are lost versus when they are home. How can we ever begin to know?
To cultivate mindful awareness. Not merely in sitting silence, but mindful in as many everyday moments as we are able.
One Small Glimpse
Feeling “home”, even for a moment, is not some magical, mystical state of mind or revelation (though it’s sometimes described this way, and there’s nothing wrong with that). If we merely commit to observing our own mind, and see desire arise – any desire – pop out of its hole like a mole, and, rather than indulge, we simply study. We can begin to take things apart…
“Oh… I see. I want something, and when I get that something, IF I get that something, satisfaction will not last…”
Once you see this, it’s very hard (impossible?) to unsee.
And while this glimpse of home certainly does not alleviate us of all future craving and suffering – it does give us the ability to see it clearly, and free ourselves. A new baseline from which to live.
Once a single unhealthy desire or habit falls away, the rest seem to follow, like dominos. Where does this leave us? Home. More and more often we are home.