As I sit here eating this sandwich, overflowing with happiness, I think about how I would like to eat this sandwich forever.
But it’s not the taste of the medium rare tuna, topped with the perfect mushrooms, and some divine mystery sauce that’s lighting me up.
It’s the flavor of awareness.
Eating this sandwich forever would quickly lead me to get tired of it.
It’s the temporary nature of experience that makes it so sweet. The unique configuration of this moment, and every other.
And, it arises from the inside, the joy comes from the awareness itself.
Why would I wish to always have the experience of the sandwich when that would make me sick of it?
Because I attribute the feeling to the external trigger, not the source of the feeling itself.
That’s the trap for us, confusing the triggers of the experience with the experience of awareness itself.
We want more triggers—more sandwiches—but if we take the time to look at what’s underneath, we don’t need so many triggers to remind us.
The Oasis Cafe in Salt Lake City was busy, and at first I felt assaulted by the experience—especially the loud girl at the next table talking about her business.
But I quickly reminded myself how blessed I was to have the opportunity to eat such a wonderful meal. I imagined myself surrounded by a bubble of light to contain my energy and keep from soaking up everyone else’s. The experience quickly changed from assaulting to wonderful and I started reading The Joyous Cosmology by Alan Watts while I was waiting for my food.
Reading deepened my awareness, helping me remember the truth that nothing is “right” or “wrong”, it’s all just awareness experiencing itself in different flavors.
That the girl talking incessantly about her new business was young and simply excited to be aware, not annoying and loud.
It’s all how I chose to label the experience. She was an expression of the whole and she had a great purpose to serve—even if either of us never knew what it was.
We spend most of our time at odds with the ever-changing nature of our own personal experiences; fighting the space between triggers of happiness, labeling them as painful, boring, or wrong. Fighting against external configurations that don’t have the ultimate say about how we feel.
We forget that eating the sandwich forever, to only do the things that make us happy or joyful all the time, would eventually lead to boredom or suffering. These triggers simply open us up to our full, unbounded experience in the moment. The bliss is already there, you’re just playing like it’s not because the game is more fun that way.
Seeing this and remembering it takes a ridiculous amount of practice because the whole world around us is doing its best to forget its true nature. That every moment is as full and perfect as any other.
That the sandwiches are doorways to an experience that’s always there. We act like it’s not because there would be no game to play if everyone was in on the secret.
So if you’re in on the secret, you really have to work not to be fooled. But the more you work at it, the space between being fooled and remembering gets shorter, because you start to realize that the space between isn’t actually there. That every moment is as full and perfect as the moments you label as the highest in your life.
No matter what you believe, you’re a creature made of particles and the elements of stars who’s dodging comets and global disasters without even knowing it. You’re a part of a civilization that for all of its horrors has also created great beauty. You get to experience a view that will never exist again, in every single moment, and you get to choose how you experience it.
The sandwiches only jog your memory.