EXISTENCE is our presence in the conditioned four-dimensional world of space and time. In this rational world we are born, we die and we enjoy and suffer in between. The real is limited to the substantial. BEING is our presence in unconditioned transcendence, a non-rational (not irrational), nameless, timeless world of spacious infinity and infinite potential, of which the world of space and time is but a manifestation of. The real includes, but is not limited to the substantial. It is in our nature to belong to these two worlds.
The EXISTENTIAL world of conditioned reality, limited by time and space, is famously and automatically accessed through thoughts. But thoughts make the unreal seem substantial, the unknown seem known, uncertainty seem certain and impermanence seem permanent, such as when we fret about a future we can never predict. Thoughts are real magicians, and therefore also wildly creative, inventive and generative. Although they can point to worlds beyond the existential, thoughts inextricably bind us to the existential world, because by nature thoughts delineate, distinguish and categorize, creating separations in a reality of interbeing. In other words, they create an illusion that we human beings are not the open, complex system that we are, but that we are closed systems instead – divorced from much direct experience and everything that cannot be conceptualized, intellectually grasped or named. When experienced exclusively as the only reality, this world becomes a painful prison that perpetuates suffering.
The ESSENTIAL world of unconditioned reality beyond time and space cannot be accessed through thoughts or simple rationality. It can only be discovered when thoughts settle and give way to clear consciousness. The essential world is not any less real than the existential one, but indeed more so. We are dealing with a paradox here: From the perspective of the existential world, the essential world seems separate and somewhere else. This is not surprising given what I explained above: Concepts emphasize separation in an interwoven reality. From the perspective of the essential world, however, the existential world is but a manifestation of the essential wholeness of reality. The path of mindfulness is our journey home – an initiation into BEING as the foundation of EXISTENCE.