In preparation for this adventure, spend some time asking yourself about the difference between what you are and what you have. We say “I am a woman” or “I am a Frenchman” or “I am a carpenter” but in all these cases we can also say “my gender is female” or “my citizenship is French” or “my profession is carpentry.” In other words, we can consider all these attributes as something we have, without identifying it with something that we are.
An interesting question is whether we can find a type of freedom from identification. Without denying or changing any identification we hold, like gender, nationality, job, we can wear them lightly, like comfortable clothes. We can wear our identifications without identifying so totally with them that there is no room left for imagining that the attributes could have been otherwise. Can we view all that we normally consider as what we are as instead something that we have? Can we view all `am’ as `have’ as if all the `am’ layers are just so many layers in an onion without the presence of an unquestioned solid core?
We don’t have to come up with a specific answer. Just entertaining this question is a good start.
The second step in the preparation is to form some kind of notion or image of what ultimate reality could be, and to give that the name Being for now, as a simple label. This is quite a tricky step, since words like “ultimate” and reality” should not be taken literally and conceptually but rather as hints or pointers. But we have to start somewhere and a large part of our exploration will be to refine our understanding of what this “Being” could possibly mean. Openness to the possibility of significant shifts in our understanding of “Being” is an important prerequisite for embarking on our adventure.
For starters, we can consider the following working hypothesis: all that appears is (in some sense yet to be explored) presented by Being. A way to work with this working hypothesis is to do the following homework: Appreciate the presence of appearance as a presentation by Being. In many different situations, take a moment: consider all that appears both inside your own thoughts and feelings as well as in the world outside of you, and simply appreciate their presence while considering them as given (in some sense; the sense may shift) by Being.
There are parallels and differences between this type of exploration and some contemplative exercises. In Taoism we may try to see everything as given in and as the Tao. In monotheistic religions we may see everything as given by a single God. In Buddhism we may consider everything as given in and as emptiness or suchness. You may find it helpful to start with any of those perspectives, but even so, it would be best to keep an open mind as to how exactly Being may be related to any of these other notions.