“There is a path to walk on,
There is walking done,
But there is no traveller.
Events happen, there are deeds being done,
But there is no individual doer.”
In the endless ocean of unconditional love swims an octopus.
The octopus, like all creatures in existence, evolved from the ocean of unconditional love.
The ocean itself does not live as such, only as suchness, but its presence suspends all life in animation and allows all life to be.
Presence is the empty essence supporting the fullness of life, and life is the singular expression of presence.
The octopus is purely an instinctive creature, it lives by instinct, it loves by instinct, it hunts and kills, eats and sleeps—by instinct. The octopus never questions why it is made so, it is content just to be so. Thereby its will is entirely free. Indeed it is, along with the unconscious ebb and flow of the ocean, the very embodiment of free will. There is no other.
The octopus is not self-aware, the eight limbs of the octopus are not self-aware, but the thousands of suckers on each of its limbs—being the most sensitive of its sensual organs—are.
The suckers themselves call this special kind of sensitivity, sentience. However it is a special sensitivity that leads to an unfortunate mistaken identity—a great illusion.
Many of these sentient suckers have come to believe that they are the perceivers of existence rather than simply the instruments of perception. The captain of the vessel rather than his looking-glass.
This mistaken perception causes them to question everything.
“Who am I?” they ask.
“Why was I born so?”
“Why am I here?”
“What is my purpose in life?”
“Why am I separate from all the other suckers, and why am I separate from the divine octopus?”
“What must I do to unite with It, be favoured by it, loved by It?”
The sceptical suckers question the very existence of the octopus.
“And if it does exist, then why has it brought so many suckers in the world?”
Understandably these suckers spend a great deal of time and energy trying to find answers to these questions, feeding an endless variety of ritual, religion and superstition.
In pursuit of these answers each unique sucker imagines they are individual, not realising that they are neither in division or dual, but rather indivisible—of each other and that ever present eight-limbed thing.
Incredibly, many suckers imagine they possess an individual and separate free will.
They imagine that they can suck or not suck entirely by their own volition. These suckers deny that their actions—their karma—is determined solely by the free will of the omnipresent octopus. Much in the same way as a wave which tries to claim autonomy from the ocean or spend its life searching for it, yearning to unite with it, not realising it is a direct and inseparable expression of It.
Some suckers imagine that they can control other suckers and even move the limbs of the octopus by their own superior willpower. However it is evident that the appearance of a sucker in control can be swept away at any moment by the free will of the octopus, and the greater will of the ocean of unconditional love.
And yet, there are some Self-realised suckers that recognise that free will is not their own—karma is not their own. Indeed life itself is not their own. They realise, all is being expressed through them, but not by them. They realise that they not the flautist, but the flute.
They have come to the most elegant of all understandings.
They recognise that although they are not the doer they cannot forgo responsibility of doing.
Instead, knowing the origin of their actions, that is to say karma, compels them to be the most conscientious and compassionate vessels of divine will.
These Self-aware suckers have realised their true nature of oneness—with each other, and with the divine octopus swimming free in the ocean of unconditional love.
They embrace their uniqueness, but the great illusion of individuality, autonomy and separation has vanished.
For them the imagined journey of union has come to an end.
They are perfectly content to simply be as they are, witnesses to the sublime dance of existence—the ebb and flow of that blissfully objective unconscious ocean.
“The Universal Self is the mind,
Controlling every sense of the self,
And pure intelligence in all that lives.”
~ The Bhagavad Gita
Author: Arun Eden-Lewis
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Sweetie187/ Flickr