Transcendence is one of the most fundamental approaches, which is very useful in spiritual progress. And it is actually vital element in the process of awakening. Simply put, it is transcending duality. Not the duality that we learn theoretically in spiritual journey, but the duality that we experience ourself in life. Hunger and fulfillment of hunger is one of the simplest examples of duality that we experience in our life. Other dualistic experiences that we have are stress (at body and mind level) and release from it, worrying about something and being free from it, feeling happy and sad etc.
Why you need to transcend duality?
We don’t need to really. Duality itself is never a problem and doesn’t produce any pleasant or unpleasant experiences by itself; in duality everything follows its own nature. Our experience of duality is based on our state and the knowledge we have of nature of things, of life flow. But we would agree that we do have unwanted experiences and try to get rid of them. Basically an unwanted experience is the struggle to be free from a certain level of experiencing and not finding a way out. Although mostly we are not aware of the nature of things here and so we try to remove one part of the dualistic experience while trying to keep the other. And this struggle doesn’t take us anywhere except in more and more tiredness. Here approach of transcendence becomes very useful.
So is transcendence escaping the experience or confronting it?
It is none of them. Both escaping and confronting the experience require us to be engaged with the experience directly, with the hope to remove it. In escaping an experience, we try to become numb about it or try to cover it with some ‘pain killer experience’; basically try to divert our attention from it. Confronting the unwanted experience is commonly seen as living the experience as it is. Although confronting an unwanted experience may wake you up altogether to a different level of your existence, yet it mostly doesn’t because the focus is on removing the experience not transcending it. So this approach also keeps us engaged with and limited to the unwanted experience.
Transcendence is as natural as breathing when we know the right thing
Let me explain with an example. Suppose you are a balloon full of hot air, tied to a thread and stuck in bushes on the earth. You have capacity of rising in the sky and experiencing it’s vastness, you have desire to be free from earth and rise in the sky also. So what need to be done in order for you to rise to the sky? Do you need to push yourself towards the sky or you just need to be free from the bushes on the earth?
Transcending doesn’t really require any push towards the higher level; it only needs freedom from the dualistic level of experience we are in. So if we just don’t hold on to anything at the level of dualistic experience where we are troubled, we simply start rising from this level to a higher level of consciousness. If we can refrain ourself from taking side of any part of the dualistic experience, we get pulled into a deeper level of life than the present level. And this deeper level is the answer to your desire to be free from ‘unwanted experience’. This deeper level has more space, relax, energy and neutrality, you can see much more clearly from there into the two parts of the dualistic experience and can understand better what’s the nature of things.
Those who want to wakeup to your True Nature must understand that you cannot reach to your True Nature by doing a journey into itself, although the first recognition of our True Nature is felt like a journey mostly. The level of duality you are trying to transcend is like an extension out of yourself. If you wish to reach to yourself then don’t try to reach to yourself because every such effort will be another extension of the present level, which is an extension itself. Through effort the best you can do is create an upside-down ‘U’ which is like your attention stretched like rubber from your present level to your deeper level and obviously you will feel stress. That’s why no one can stay in the self by effort. The only way to stay in True Nature is, that don’t stay in the extension of yourself for few minutes and you are naturally pulled into yourself. The example of a fist is very appropriate here. To make a fist you need to put effort. But do you need any effort to bring your hand into its natural state? No, you just need to stop applying force and you have stopped making the fist. The hand will come into its natural state by itself. But remember to have patience and don’t start putting efforts to bring your hand into its natural state.
How not to hold onto anything at the dualistic level?
Explore deeply how you are holding onto anything. As you look into your hold deeply, a release from it happens naturally by itself. It happens because essentially every bond of two things in life is like absence of light; like a gap between the two, full of darkness. Remember darkness is not presence of darkness but absence of light. As you bring light of your neutral seeing into this gap, an effortless detachment happens.