Liberation and self-realization.
Self-realization is liberation. Liberation is self-realization.
There is no beginning and there is no end. Nothing is final. There is no absolute. There is no highest point, nor is there a lowest point. These configurations are ideas. Ideas are primitive constructs, symbolic representations, reflections in a mirror. We see the world through thought, not only in the sense of individual thoughts that we think, but thoughts that have a mass, that have collected, that have formed composites.
There is no way to see the world. In this world, and in other worlds too, there are views. What we see in a view is not necessarily what is in the view or all that is in the view. We have to separate to some extent the perceiver from that which is perceived, or we have to lose all distinction whatsoever.
We see life in terms of physicality. We see a world with buildings, trees, mountains, oceans, people. We are cognizant of time, the sense that there is mutability. Time is change. It's the separation of eternity from itself. When eternity is separated from itself, we see it appear in different forms. Time is not a movement in space. Space is a movement in time. There is no deterioration and there is no creation. There are projections, moments of existence. Each moment is perfect.
Self-realization is liberation. Liberation is self-realization.
For example, if we were to look at an apple, and we saw the apple as it was growing, and we watched the different stages of its growth, and we watched it ripen and fall from the tree and then we watched it decay, and we watched the seeds from that apple root themselves into the ground and grow. And a huge tree eventually came forth from that apple and the tree provided a place for birds to have nests. One of the birds in that nest one day was flying to the court of a king and it flew in a window and took a precious gem. When the king couldn't find the gem, which was a symbol of his authority, the people said that it was a sign from the gods that the king should not have ruled the kingdom. The king was overthrown. His family had to leave the kingdom; they left in poverty. But the king had a son and one day the son grew up and he came back to the kingdom and he reclaimed the throne. He married, had children himself, and one day one of those children was out by the apple tree, the old ancient apple tree. And a windstorm had blown down a nest and in it he found the jewel, and as he looked into the jewel he saw himself, all the lives that he had ever had or would ever possibly have, all the creations of God stretched out infinitely, all times, past present and future for all beings - worlds unimagined. And he saw that each part of this was a part of himself - that the world and all the worlds were his body, that all the beings that peopled it were his mind, and that his soul was nirvana, which was all of this and more. And seeing this, and seeing us listening to this story, he came to see that there was no time, that the tree had never grown, that the apple - the first apple from which all this came forth - was still sitting in a garden, by a river.
So reality does appear to exist. There does appear to be birth, youth. People appear to have children, but all of it's a dream. These are isolated moments that are only connected by perception. There is no separation.
Self-realization is that awareness. Not the awareness that this world is a dream - that's a part of self-realization - not the awareness that there is time because there is time and that's part of self-realization. Not the awareness that there is no such thing as time, that there are only isolated incidents, but that, in other words, the apple is full grown in one picture, the apple is only partially grown in another, the apple has ripened and fallen and its seeds have taken root in another picture. The seeds have grown into a giant tree in another picture; the bird has built its nest in another picture; it has taken the jewel, in another picture, from the king. The king and his family, homeless, wander poverty-stricken in strange lands in another picture in our album. The son of the king comes back and reclaims the kingdom in another picture. Further in the album we have another picture, and this is the new king's son, going to the old gnarly apple tree and finding the jewel. In another picture looking into
the jewel and seeing all of the universes, all of the worlds, all of the dimensions, all times, all places. In another picture, seeing that there was something behind all that, and beyond it all which we call nirvana, the self, God. In another picture watching us listening to all of this. In another picture being back at the beginning. None of it had taken place. It was all a dream, and on waking from the dream it all went away.
Now, time is our turning of the pages of this vignette, of this collection of photographs. Each one of these events is happening independently. There is no cycle of growth and development. Rather there are moments of perfectly manifested reality. They appear to be in sequence because we place them in sequence. A flower never unfolds. The sun never rises. All of the moments are independent and only seem to be connected by a causal chain, which we call time, because we are time and it is we who are connecting them with our consciousness. They all exist independently. So the moment of the apple at ripeness exists. It's separate; it's like a house you can go into. Next to it is another house and another and another. The apple falling, the child with the jewel, each moment is a reality in itself. Everything always exists, in other words. Everything that has ever been or will ever be exists. What we do is that we, as a body of perception, take a tour and we visit different things, and as we visit them, we say that
they "are." When we leave them, we say that they "no longer are." But everything always has existed and always will exist. The awareness of this is part of self-realization but is not self-realization.
Self-realization is not a state of being, although all states of being are contained within it. Self-realization is like the thin air - only you have become the thin air. There is no sense of form. There's no sense of being a person. When you close your eyes and meditate, there's no sense that you are meditating. All there is is the thin air.