I was reading a blog this morning (Raptitude.com, which is worth a read, IMO) and in it the writer said "We are always looking to transcend the human condition."
How? How can humans transcend the human condition... because any transcendence would be a human condition! Humans transcending being human. There is no transcendence. If you're human, you can only BE human. The experience is of being human. Human Being. Being Human.
So, what is this 'human being'? What is it made of? What is its substance?
Imagine a tapestry. A deeply woven, colourful, sumptuous, richly tactile tapestry. This tapestry depicts the story of a person. All its woes and triumphs, sadness and joy. And imagine that you look at this tapestry starting at the beginning as it tells the tale of a baby being born, growing, crying, playing,... into toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence, adulthood; being woven by the thread, constantly changing - the colours; bland beige, ruby red, verdant green, inky black. Now imagine that the tapestry is alive, that it's not you moving along looking at the story it depicts, but that you stand there and the tapestry weaves itself in front of your eyes - you see the weaving as it happens.
Imagine further ... that you are the character in that tapestry, that you are being woven by the thread itself. You're not watching the life of the character as it happens, you ARE the thread as it morphs - you are the warp and weft, the colour and the texture; what the tapestry is made of is what you are made of and you are being woven as the story that the tapestry is depicting.
The weaving of the tapestry is real; each colour and thread , as it is being woven; the intricacies, richness, texture and colour - and the story that it weaves is real whilst it's being woven, but the thread weaves on.
The three scenarios I have asked you to imagine (moving along the tapestry, having the tapestry weave in front of you and being the tapestry character as it is woven) are what I think people are trying to do when they talk about transcendence or being 'awareness' or the 'witness'. As though you can somehow step outside the story of what you are. If you stepped outside that story; if you transcended it, witnessed it, detached from it .... then that would be "the story of 'stepping outside, transcending, witnessing, detaching." There's no getting out of it.
And why would you want to? Transcendence is just another experience and it can only ever be experienced by this character that is being woven by life. Bliss is just another experience. Any state of transcendence or bliss or 'abiding as non-dual awareness' can only ever be experienced AS the movement that is the character, the person, the human.
Imagine how tedious it would be to be 'forever blissful'; to be stuck as a character in one colour, one hue, one tone. Isn't it the very fact that the entire richness of living is felt and experienced that makes the character and the story it lives so engrossing and deep, knowing that whatever the thread of life weaves us into, it will never keep us static.
When I was trying to hit on the metaphor I wanted for this post, I was reminded of the book 'Weaveworld' by Clive Barker, one of my favourite books and so I'll end with a quote from it, which I think sums it all up very nicely:
"Nothing ever begins.
There is no first moment; no single word or place from which this or any story springs.
The threads can always be traced back to some earlier tale, and the tales that preceded that; though as the narrator's voice recedes the connections will seem to grow more tenuous, for each age will want the tale told as if it were of its own making."
— Clive Barker (Weaveworld)