Every sentient being, speaking as I, may say to his phenomenal self,
'Be still! and know that I am God!'
As long as there is a 'you' doing or not-doing anything, thinking or not-thinking, 'meditating' or 'not-meditating', you are no nearer home than the day you were 'born'.
However many years you may have been at it, and whatever you have understood or have not-understood, you have not yet started if there is a 'you' that is still in the saddle.
As long as you do anything as from a 'you', you are in 'bondage'.
Here the word you stands for any object that appears to act or not to act, that is any phenomenon as such. 'You' stands for any such object which believes that it acts volitionally as an autonomous entity, and is thereby bound by identification with a phenomenon.
Let us say it again: as long as there is a pseudo-entity apparently doing or not-doing anything, thinking or not-thinking, meditating or not-meditating, that phenomenon is no nearer home than the day it was apparently born.
However many years a phenomenon may have been at it, and whatever it has understood or not-understood, it has not yet started if there is a pseudo-entity that is still in the saddle.
As long as a phenomenon does anything as from a pseudo-entity, it is in 'bondage'.
The difference is between what you are and what you think you are but are not, 'bondage' being identification of the former with the latter.
Again: the difference is between This which every phenomenon is and That which no phenomenon is, 'bondage' being identification of the former with the latter.
That, in very simple language, is the pseudo-mystery, the so-called insoluble problem, the joke that made Lazarus Laugh.
Treating this matter in the first person singular, it becomes a question of what we mean when we say 'I'.
If in saying 'I' we speak as from a psycho-somatic phenomenon that believes itself to be an independent entity acting or not-acting autonomously as a result of its own volition, then no matter what we may know or ignore, what we may have practised or not-practised, we are well and truly in bondage.
If in saying 'I' - although we may speak as from a phenomenon that appears to act or not to act (as observed by other phenomena and by 'itself') - we do not regard that phenomenon as possessing of its own right and nature any autonomy or volition, and so is properly to be regarded not as 'I' but as 'it', then since such phenomenon is not 'in the saddle' I am not identified with it, and I am not in bondage.
In this latter case the word 'I' is subjective only, as the word 'Je' in French, and for the accusative (or objective) case the word 'me' is necessary, as is 'moi' in French, even after the verb 'to be', for 'I' have no objective quality whatever, and all that could be called 'me' can never in any circumstances have any subjective quality, so that what I am as 'I' is purely noumenal and what I appear to be as 'me' is exclusively phenomenal. So that in saying 'I', if we speak or act as from what we are - from impersonal noumenality, with the spontaneity that is called 'Tao', there is no longer any question of bondage, for there is no longer any supposed entity to be bound.
There is a further stage of fulfilment, in which complete reintegration takes place. Therein 'I' and 'it', 'I' and 'you', subject and object, lose all elements of difference. Of this stage only the fully integrated can be qualified to speak with authority, for herein no differentiation any longer is possible.
I am you, you are I, subject is object, and object is subject, each is either and either is both, for phenomena are noumenon and noumenon is phenomena.
This is the end of the big joke, the final peal of laughter, for it, too, is so simple and obvious that only the blindfold should fail to see it, or could see it in any other manner.
Said as we say it, however that may be, it can never be true; said as the integrated say it, however that may be - even in the self-same words - it cannot be false: for what is neither false nor true cannot be false as it cannot be true. It is what it is - and whatever it be called, that it can never be.