We Are Not What We Appear To Be

“Nothing is as it appears to be; neither is it otherwise."  -Zen Koan

 The fact of physical temporariness and the inevitable end of material life is often experienced as an underlying anxiety. In the words of Dr. Hora “the human condition is an unceasing state of existential dread; a doubting fearfulness about whether or not we really exist.”

We seem to be physical, material persons made of flesh and blood; with mental, physiological, and psychological functions. We seem to be urges, desires, needs and wants, inclinations, habits and traits. And yet, all of these are temporary. They change many times during a lifetime and then disappear completely.

There is also a sense of timelessness. There is an awareness of being eternal and indestructible. How can it be that we seem to be temporary, yet, also seem to be timeless? Which one is real? Psychology might suggest that “timelessness” is merely a coping fantasy to the truth of “temporariness.”

In Metapsychiatry the experience of temporariness and the awareness of eternality are both recognized as meaningful. They point to a truth about who and what we are, as well to the purpose of our lives.

An underlying experience of anxiety may be the awareness that the physical form is temporary. Clinging to the physical form does not alleviate the anxiety, nor will it stop the inevitable dissolution of it.

Instead of fighting or subduing the anxiety it can be seen as information. It may be an invitation to open to another perception of our selves. Like caterpillars that evolve into butterflies, we are seeded with the inspiration to evolve into an ever more enlightened expression of what is infinite and eternal.

This places the study of consciousness and its content as essential to living an anxiety-free, happy life. The experience of life in a temporary form is an opportunity and a means to awaken to the eternal reality. All of the suffering, longing, pleasures and urges are meaningful. They reveal the content of consciousness. Awareness makes it possible to wake up to this content and discern the healthy from the unhealthy, the temporary from the eternal.

“Nothing is as it appears to be. .”

What we experience with our senses is symbolic of what is really real and what is not.

“And, neither is it otherwise.”

The physical appearance of life is neither something nor is it nothing – it is meaningful. Like a map to a trail, once we understand it, it can help guide us to a fuller understanding of who we are and our purpose in life.