The early Buddhist teachings deconstruct many habitual ways of being and seeing. We think we’re permanent, but we’re not. We think that by craving things we’ll find happiness, but we won’t. One after another the Buddha challenges our established views, our ways of constructing our version of the world, and takes them apart: you think it’s one way but it’s not; you want an answer, but the problem is your very wanting of an answer.
– Henry Shukman, “The Unfamiliar Familiar”
For every answer, you’ll find an opposing answer. For every solution, you’ll find a contrary conclusion. For every assertion you’ll finding a contradiction. For every bit of advice from one person, you’ll be told to do just the opposite from another person. Two people rarely see the same truth. Take a single sentence: one sees it as insult, another sees it as honor. Nothing is fixed. Nothing is secure. Nothing works or maybe everything works. The thing is, all options are up for grabs. Everything. There is no position to stand from which you can see 360 degrees. There is only data streaming through awareness. That is all. Lots of data. 360 degrees of date. Take your pick. Or take no pick. It’s all workable and it’s all useless. You decide. You can give a lot of effort to wellness or you can absolutely ignore it and be vibrantly healthy. You can eat good fats and be thin; you can eat good fats and get fat. You can carbohydrate load and be an efficient athlete, or not! You can strive diligently for health and wellness and still become fatigued, or worse, get sick. You can work hard and make a lot of money, or you can get lucky and make a lot of money. You can be disciplined and intentional and create a good life; or you can be carefree and undirected and live a good life. There is this stream of data that inundates us. Data of every sort that will support just about any position or action you want to take. Step two feet to the left and you can be in a different universe, with different rules and laws from the one you just stepped out of. You’re not going to find the right answer. There is no right answer. There is just a lot of data. And then, you mix that data with a unique personality (which, of course, is just more data), and you get a certain kind of experience. It’s not the experience; it’s just an experience. And you might get a certain result. Not a good or a bad result. Just a result. Behind the data stream is open clarity. The source. The field out of which all data arises. The spaciousness out of which all equanimity resides. And this open clarity is charged through with an energetic force, an impulse that some say is moving forward, toward the good, the true and the beautiful and others say is backsliding—toward evil, falsehood, and ugliness. All manifestation comes out of this energy. What do you want to do with it? Which universe will you stand in?