‘Existence’ is a term that tries to consolidate the activity of appearing into a noun. The activity of ‘happening’, ‘appearing’ never ends up as a genuine noun. The term ‘existence’ is, so to speak, a fake term. Form is, as an appearing phenomenon, in that category if it claims to be real via a mental activity of believing that it is real.
The inherent substance in appearing and disappearing forms is emptiness. (The term ’emptiness’ implies that phenomena do not have an independent substance.) The only substance there is is unboundedness. Some call it ‘freedom’, Jim Newman may call it ’empty space’, Tony Parsons may call it ‘unbounded energy’. They don’t want to call it ‘awareness’ but they say ‘it is obvious’.
That sense of obviousness is only possible when the facts a ‘lit up,’ enlightened. ‘Enlightened or Enlightening awareness’ are terms they reject because there is no one to own such an awareness. Nevertheless, unboundedness is ‘obvious’ (quoting). That claim (that unboundedness is obvious) can only arise within the universal light of clarity – that could be called enlightened awareness.
These terms do not point to something special. They point to the obviousness of timeless ordinariness. These terms are only misconstrued by concepts that arise from a time-bound view. To prevent such misinterpretation, Tony et al. avoid them. At least, that is my explanation of why they avoid these traditional terms like poison.
The term ‘real’ when applied to ‘what’s happening’ explains that we can’t deny the appearing and disappearing of specific phenomena. They are as real as mirages. We can’t grasp any phenomena. But the perceiving of mirages cannot be denied. If we apply the term ‘real’ to the capacity of perceiving, rather than to the fluctuating colours, sounds etc, then we give credence to the fact that there has to be a capacity to perceive so that perceiving can happen. Perceiving requires alertness. Alertness is just another word for awareness.
I understand that a term such as awareness can be a trap by triggering the belief that there is a separation between awareness and the perceived phenomena. Nevertheless, awareness is fundamental for any descriptions, statements, claims, perceptions. There is no harm in realising that what’s happening is fluctuant (subject to coming and going) and that the capacity to perceive is neither coming nor going. There is no harm in realising that the sense of ‘no-me’ is that undefinable space without measure in which phenomena arise and disappear. Let’s call it awareness. It is the capacity of perceiving.
It’s a vicious circle. The fake identity’s (‘separate self’) main ingredient is resistance (suffering). That resistance, by definition, doesn’t know unconditional allowing. Therefore, the imagined separate self is unable to solve the issue since it constructed by the issue. If resistance tries to surrender, that surrender will be as fake as the resisting, imagined entity and this won’t yield the desired outcome. There is merit in admitting that I, as the imagined entity, can’t solve the issue. This hopeless admittance is surrender and reveals the ever-present solution by showing clearly that the problem doesn’t exist at all, and that there is no chance that it will ever exist or that it has ever existed. This admittance is an alternative to ‘facing the suffering so completely that we can truly say that suffering is welcome forever’ (19:12). The separate self is not able to face suffering this way. Only the recognition that the suffering (fake) entity is not what we are can face anything so fearlessly.