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Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

What Are We Searching For?

Today, Cindy and I went to Costco to buy supplies for Thanksgiving. I have always been amazed at the abundance and fullness of Costco, and I have often felt irritated by the throngs of people pushing their massive, overflowing carts in my way.

Today, Costco was empty-stillness. It was the same as before, but it seemed like a dream. Everything that was apparently happening was transparent, shot through with emptiness. While all the normal bustle animated the surface, the sounds and movement were insubstantial perturbations in a still, deep ocean of nothingness.

It was as if the slider controlling how opaque reality appears had been adjusted significantly away from one-hundred-percent, allowing the previously hidden layer of boundless emptiness to be revealed.

On the way back to the car, the continuity of time started to break down. Instead of a neatly stitched-together story of me going from Costco to the car, there was what seemed like a random onslaught of disjoint impressions. First tarmac, then cars, then sky, then emotion, then cart, then pressure on soles of feet.

Meanwhile, my brain-body seems to have navigated to the car completely competently without any help from me.

What we’re looking for is more immediate than experience. It resides closer than seeing, than hearing, than touching, than thinking, than feeling. It’s the empty substrate out of which every apparent thing arises. Any attempt to see it overlooks it. It’s so obvious that when it’s seen, the reaction is often, “Oh that! Wow!” It’s always been there but it’s so simple and obvious that it was continually missed.

What we’re looking for is too close to be found. It’s too simple to be understood. It’s too already-is to be wanted. It’s too this to be that. It’s too everything to be anything in particular.

What we’re looking for will never be known, experienced, or understood. It will just continue to be what it is, continue being nothing-everythinging. What we’re looking for will continue to be all there is (and isn’t).

Written by

An engineer-psychologist focused on machine intelligence. I write from my own experience to support others in living more fulfilling lives |

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