Experiential Reduction (Part 2)

No new. No now. Sorry, but they are just more myths. Yet what has greater lure, greater lustre than the newness of the now, the nowness of the new?  And we wake with that same expectation, same excitement. “Today may be the day, and if not, there are so many tomorrows….we’ll surely find the new and it’ll expel every trace of sorrow, every ghost within us.”

But there is no surer way of remaining with the old, than by seeking the new.  In hunting the new, the now, we only capture the old.  Seeking in all its forms reduces experience, diminishes it, down to a pointless point, totally missing whatever point the moment had in mind for us.  It is the same core dynamic that is going on within all seeking.  Enlightenment is the natural state already before search. No further enlightenment is possible.  The day can’t be made more new.  Experience can’t be made more complete.

In the same way that a sail and a rudder combine to create a boat’s forward motion, our cherished experiential targets create a sense of “passage”, of motion, purpose, direction.  The act of filtering and distilling the day’s experience gives it a place in a larger, imagined journey.  We are left with “a day in my life” instead of “life for a day”.

The concept of “the new” is reinforced by the appearance of days upon days and, as such, we seem to be justified in our hope for a fuller tomorrow.  But is there really such thing as “the new”?  I don’t think so. Or at least, not in a helpful way; either everything is new or everything is old, so what?  What is certain, is that, just like other entrenched spiritual concepts, all “the new” succeeds in doing is guiding our vision and sense of stillness away from what is, whatever what is is, and toward something that isn’t.

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