Jean Dunn about Nisargadatta Maharaj
in the Preface to "Prior to Consciousness"
The 'spiritual quest' is about two things
The realistic expectation is to live without the conceptual sense of self, the 'me', which has now been seen through.
What is left is
Suffering, in this context, means psychological suffering. It is mental. Mental suffering.
It does not mean that there will be no pain, or stress, or unhappiness, or sadness, or grief, or anger, or irritation etc in your life. It does not mean that there will be no arguments, no divorces. It does not mean that there will be no sickness, injury or death. All of those things are a part of normal life - part of the dualistic world in which we live.
The difference is that there is not a conceptual 'me' there to take delivery of the so-called 'bad things' and resist them, reject them, run away from them, hold onto them, bring them up again and again, be wounded by them, use them as tools of manipulation etc. The so-called 'spiritual person' who wants 'to escape from life', or wants only one side of duality, is an aspect of this.
It is certain that so-called 'bad things' will happen in our life. That is a part of life, however without the conceptual 'me' they are free to move on. They will not be held onto. Not wallowed in. Not used to enhance the sense of self. Not taken personally. Not become a part of the 'me'. Not part of the 'story of me'.
Apart from that, life is exactly how it was.
The 'me' is just a thought and has never had the power to do anything. We have always been living from the Aliveness that we are - in all its manifestation. All that has occurred is that the mistaken identity issue has been sorted out. That is all.
Life goes on. Aliveness goes on.
As per the old Zen saying
"Before Enlightenment carrying water, chopping wood, after Enlightenment carrying water, chopping wood."
Due to the fact that the 'me' has been seen through, the re-cognition of your true nature is delicate, quiet, subtle. At other times it is vibrant, intensely alive. It is always there just under the surface and even through the storm clouds as well . Makes quite a difference!
Which is why "Nothing changes, but everything changes."
Jiddu Krishnamurti said
"You must understand the whole of life, not just
one little part of it. That is why you must read,
that is why you must look at the skies, that is
why you must sing and dance, and write poems,
and suffer, and understand, for all that is life."
Written by Mike Graham, 19 Jan 2008, last edited 17 Feb 2008
The Dalai Lama