It seems the greater the sense of self-assurance and self-certainty the more the sense of self is reified - we ‘become’ somebodies. Insight into the Dhamma relaxes this contraction - the grasping of perceptions and thoughts and taking ownership of them.
When there is a sense of ease and relaxation - a sweet letting go - there is more comfort in the mind and inside this bag of skin. Thoughts and perceptions arrive and are held lightly, they seem weightless - without substance. There are the primal elements of experience - there is consciousness - but ‘no owner’. There is contact, consciousness, feeling but no taking hold of the flow of experience.
Perceptions and thoughts acquire the power of persuasion through faith and confidence. They are important and valuable tools in the service of wisdom but they often serve no useful purpose. Everything has its place - its appropriate use.
We come out of dukkha by holding things lightly, gently, with kindness and, with presence of mind. The purpose of Buddhism is to help us to realise our freedom - to inquire into the nature of our tendency to become ‘bound to’ anything! Therefore, Buddhism is only a skilful means for ‘crossing over’ the stream of the world to the safety of being human - without needing anything from the world for our sense of self worth - our inner peace, joy and deep abiding care.
We cannot be bound to the truth that liberates because there is nowhere to tether ourselves - and attach. All bonds can - and will - be broken. We only need to avoid getting in the way. Who is it that attaches and ties itself to freedom without measure - without conditions? To discover this ‘freedom’ (unbinding) we need to start somewhere. We require a heart-felt interest in finding out what is going on with us that makes us suffer without good reason. The purpose of Dhamma inquiry - Dhamma practice - is to let go of the inquiry. It is not required when we find the answers we need - and live them without reservation.
An awakened being is not taken-in by confidence-tricks. Stream entry is the discovery of complete self-doubt - no more personality belief. Freedom is its own evidence - there is no clinging and no desire - nothing is required. Its more obvious than the nose on our face. Emptiness requires no affirmation therefore, there is no confirmation-bias. Liberating insight cannot be imagined as that is already one-step removed.
Letting go does not mean throwing away - it means holding lightly with care and wisdom. We don’t need to throw away anything that is helpful in Dhamma inquiry. Any ideology that divides people and prevents them meeting with care and mutual respect should be let go of without hesitation.
It is the belligerent insistence that there is certainty where ‘there is none’ that undermines free and (open inquiry) - this includes science and the Buddha-Dhamma. This is why we need to challenge secular ideologies - not secularism - and religious fundamentalism. They tend to trap their victims in self-certainty where self-questioning is required.
The truth is not arrived at through a yes/no process. It does not require our assent or an (act) of approval. The truth is liberating - there is no freedom without truth. There is no freedom as long as we believe we are a ‘somebody’. They always have a ‘role’ to play and it never solves the problem - permanently. Our esteem needs require endless maintenance and the wheels always fall off - sooner or later. Anything that is put-together will eventually come undone. This is why the world rings hollow.
We are not who we think we are and we are not what we take ourselves to be - the body/mind is ‘not-sef’ (anatta). We are not true-believers or non-believers or some other ‘persona’(mask) that hides our simplicity of being.
There is a sense of security in the known but it is not a true refuge. As long as we have a sense of being a ‘somebody’ we will remain ill-at-ease. When subjectivity dissolves in the beautiful - in Jhana - it is clear what unsullied happiness looks like.
The ending of dukkha is available in emptiness where perception and cognition cease. Existence is self-liberating when there is no grasping and clinging - as soon as anything arises its on its way to cessation. How could it be otherwise?
If we end up with anything - as a result of practice - we are still in a pickle. When we lose everything 'there is nothing more worth having’ - because its not *up to snuff. Letting go makes living meaningful - it has to be lived.
“But the people … they called … “up to snuff,” and equal to every occasion, had already seen a way out of the difficulty.” - P.G. Wodehouse