The Five Stages of Enlightenment… by Bill Harris (May 19th, 2008), continued
If you really doubt EVERYTHING, if you throw out all hopes, it leaves you with nowhere to stand, nothing to hang onto, no reference point. Everything you thought life was about, you doubt and discard. When you do this, really do it, there is utterly NOTHING left but now and your awareness of now. This is what Eckhardt Tolle is talking about, though he’s suggesting ways that for the most part allow you to experience the now for a few moments. Great Doubt is the doorway to being there all the time.
Is this doubting of EVERYTHING, including your own sense of self, scary? Thinking about doing it certainly is. My own experience of DOING it wasn’t scary, but thinking about doing it, for most people, certainly is, because it’s a death of everything you think of as “me”. This is the step off the hundred-foot pole I spoke about, the step into the abyss. It seems as if this step would be an annihilation of yourself, of your life. In reality, it’s an annihilation of what you mistakenly thought was you, which creates an opening to the real you. But when you consider it, it certainly doesn’t seem that way.
You can probably see why you have to have supreme trust, supreme faith, in order to do this. Otherwise you won’t really do it. This is also why, when Genpo Roshi leads people through this step using the Big Mind process, it’s likely to be just a state experience. You doubt, you let go of everything you’ve been clinging to, to whatever extend you’re able or willing to do (which varies from person to person), and to the degree you really do it, you have some amount of experience of what it’s like. But unless you’ve REALLY surrendered and submitted (which is what gives you the trust and the faith you need to fully go into this experience) you won’t fully do it. If, however, you do really do it, something extrordinary happens.