The third fundamental certainty is the conviction that our experience of life doesn’t have to be characterised by unsatisfactoriness. We can realise—through examining the cause of the experience of unsatisfactoriness—that its cessation occurs when we give up our struggle to establish ourselves as solid, permanent, separate, continuous, and defined.
As soon as we stop programming our perception with the process of distracted-being we cease to experience ourselves or our world as being unsatisfactory.
It may be useful at this point to take the weighted-swimming analogy a little further. We are trying not to drown with the aforementioned weights, when someone suggests a tangential approach – something we had never considered: “Discard the weights from your body – or, simply allow them to fall away.” If I decided to take this advice I’d learn that I didn’t have to use all my energy merely to postpone drowning. I’d discover that it is natural to remain afloat. Then I’d discover that it is easy to swim. A new dimension would open up – and I’d realise that I can swim with far less effort than it previously took me to remain close enough to the surface of the water to suck air into my lungs. I’d have lost the fear and panic. I’d be at home in the water – and free to experience its many possibilities. As soon as we give up our fixated struggle to maintain and secure ourselves – our natural condition is there.
I was a great failure in swimming lessons as a child. Various well-meaning people attempted to teach me to swim and failed. I did however love swimming underwater. One day it occurred to me—when I was swimming underwater—that I could try surfacing. What would happen if I simply surfaced and kept making the same movements? I tried and suddenly I was swimming. The problem with staying afloat vanished, and I had no idea what the nature of the problem had been.
People were surprised. “How did you suddenly learn to swim?” they’d ask – and I replied, “I just did what I do underwater – at the surface.” They’d all seen me swim underwater and no one had ever thought of suggesting what I’d done. It was somehow too simple. The nondual state can be achieved with even greater ease – but it is harder because it is utterly simple.
As we become aware that the cessation of the experience of unsatisfactoriness is possible, the way towards cessation of unsatisfactoriness unfolds as a process of continuous opening.
The unfolding of the process of continuous opening is the discovery of the fourth fundamental certainty.