Two Modes of Being

© Paul Hedderman

There is only Being, conscious contact, present action in progress: A VERB. But the head has made a NOUN of it, called ME. Being is an uninterrupted verb. There is no island of noun to climb up on. You don’t leave the ocean of being, become a noun, and have a different experience of life, as island life. There is no island! There is only being. It works like this: There is an experience — conscious contact. Then the mind claims to be the one who HAD the experience — wrapping all the little stories together into a big story of being a SELF that claims those stories to imply its reality.

This occurs because of identification AS the body. I seem to be looking through this body, so I take it as A BODY THAT IS LOOKING. The body is fitted with the idea of being “me.” Now that conscious contact has been hijacked, I am informed every moment that I am a self WHO IS IN conscious contact (rather than conscious contact itself). The counter evidence of this idea is available at all times through the conscious contact itself. There’s a neuroscientist I heard speak once. He said there is an ‘experiential self’ and a ‘remembering self.’ Now to me there is no ‘self’; so I refer to an ‘experiential mode’ and a ‘remembering mode.’ What is well-being and happiness for one mode is not for the other.

Here’s the difference: The remembering mode is about what I’ve done and what I have, like the big game hunter with antlers over the mantle. I’m happy because I’ve done this and done that. In this remembering mode there is on-going judging and comparison to see how good or bad one’s doing. But the experiential mode doesn’t find happiness in the resume or the goals it’s attained. This mode is pure Being. Conscious contact. Its joy in life is in the process rather than the destination. The experiential doesn’t care about judging and comparing; it doesn’t have time for any of that because there’s no time for getting out of the experience and becoming an observer of it. There is in fact no time.

When the remembering mind takes over and it’s totaling up to see how good and bad you are, it’s totally insane. It has its own agenda. You may think it’s working for you, but you’re actually working for it. It’s using your life to interpret life based on its own views. Its desire to be right is incredibly powerful, as is its desire to be special. Nor does it care how its special: A 10-year prison sentence can be just as special to it as buying a house in Pacific Heights.

The thing for you to hear today is that there is no self. There has to be a sense of being a self for the remembering mode. But there doesn’t have to be any sense of self for the experience mode. In my younger years there was no idea of Paul; it wasn’t set in concrete yet. When I was playing there was no worry, would I be playing next week. I had no idea of next week. Absolutely none. A light way to travel, yes? Wonder, awe, spontaneity. Then we outgrow it.

Actually, we grow into something else which excludes that. What is it that we grow into? A REMEMBRANCE of a life. There’s judgment, good and bad; should’ve done this and that. There is a separation from the very EXPERIENCE of living into the OBSERVANCE of living. What’s observing is not you. What’s observing is the conditioning. You’re looking through your mother’s eyes, your grandmother’s eyes, a teacher’s eyes, your friends’ eyes; not so much experiencing as thinking about the experiences afterwards. What does it mean? The mind gets into the story.

You’re never out of life. But you separate yourself out, so that there is an event going on but you think it is happening TO YOU. You don’t see yourself as proceeding THROUGH an event, so much as an event that’s happening TO you. Meanings are being inserted into life based on what thinks it’s living it. If I see life as something that’s happening to me, that accesses lots of old files for download. The event is not seen as the event in progress but as a past event.

What to do? Get out of self? Sounds like a natural response. But that response is part and parcel of the bigger problem called self-centeredness. The solution you apply to the problem is going to be an even bigger problem. If you apply a solution to an imaginary problem what can you expect? A lot of something’s going to happen, but it’s not going to be what you thought.

If you apply a solution to an imaginary problem what you’re doing is verifying the reality of the problem. What solution that you think you’ve found has lasted? None. How can a solution work on an imaginary problem? The true solution is recognizing its imaginary; that’s the quickest way out. To realize you’re not in it. That’s the whole solution.

Self doesn’t exist. Only the process, the verb, exists. The problem is the illusion of being a self. The solution is to recognize you’re not the self or the selfing; then all the perceptions of illusion can keep appearing and creating an illusion – which you’re not falling for anymore! You are no longer playing at being a noun.