What is the difference between conditioned mind, the human it inhabits, and the authentic being we each are at the center of our being? This question, I think, leads us to discover the work that we are each here to do.
On the most distilled level, conditioned mind is simply the force that works constantly for dissatisfaction and other forms of unhappiness. There is nothing human about it. It feeds on the life force of the humans it inhabits, but that’s pretty much the end of the relationship. That seems simple and clear.
Then there is our authentic nature. Here there is no conditioning: only the spontaneous and natural manifestation of Life in human form. Again, simple and clear.
Where things get tricky is in between. Something exists that is not conditioning (in the sense of the pure drive to suffer) and not authentic nature (in the sense of perfect freedom from suffering). Here we have what I think most deserves the name “human”. At this level there is a body with needs and wants, and a heart that desires love. Here also there is a dependence upon outside things, and no absolute ability to care for oneself. Real self-care happens when the universal being on the level of authentic nature embraces the person on this human level in unconditional love and acceptance. On the human level alone this can’t happen: that would be like asking a child to parent itself. My teacher used to say that “We each have one life to save.” The life we are each here to save is this human, this manifestation of Life Force in human form. Who we each authentically are is the power to save.
Suffering occurs, then, when there is a separation between the natural human and the unconditional love and acceptance that is our authentic nature. Suffering ends when we identify with the love instead of with the human, and embrace the human in that love. This is easier said than done, of course, partly because we are not taught to know the difference—we must learn it through tremendous work and determined effort over time—and partly because of conditioning’s dirty tricks.
More about that in the next blog.