The Modern Tao: Understanding of the way of the Effortless.

Saja Fendél
8 min readAug 11, 2022


All we need is to see clearly the difference between knowledge and understanding.

In most cases, it’s likely that many people who will read this have already discovered that the self they are is infinite and shared between all seeming things and beings. There may also be those reading this relatively new to this topic. I ask you both, what is the difference?

We are therefore all beginners here as we will be deepening this understanding for as long as there are days to live. And yes, that still applies to the appearance of teachers that may seem to speak of these matters.

That is to say, that there may be no mistake in their understanding, but the deepening in their ability to express the full capacity of that understanding in all aspects of their life at any given moment, is a path that will continue far beyond the Self Recognition.

But this is one of the joys of being alive. It’s what makes this a human experience. It is the human experience that supplements the truth with wine at dinner time.

The difference between what we know and what we understand is vast. If I know something, I must go toward that thing in some way in order to access it.

If I know a word in Spanish, I must first be in my English understanding, then go toward whatever that word is in Spanish and remember it. Or google it. Or go somewhere in objective experience in order to express or relate to it.

In other words, what I “know” is always objective conceptual knowledge that I “believe” is true, which has not yet been seen clearly as my own experience.

When I know it is true, it is because it has found its way into my own experience, but only because of the fact I have seen it in my own experience.

In other words, true understanding can only ever be a recognition of what is already the case, rather than some form of knowledge that has been acquired or gained.

The evolution of a human being must end with the dissolution of any knowledge it has gained.

Thus, such a mind finds pleasure in and enjoys texts such as this which is seem to subtly dissolve the tendency to know and learn, however on the surface can look like learning or knowledge.

It’s like a moth getting closer to the flame in which he meets his own dissolution!

Another example would be if I know how to play the guitar. I will look at the strings, make sure my fingers are placed carefully, remember what the right chords are, and strum at a careful rhythm that is in time when I move my fingers to another chord.

This is all from what I ”know” about playing, not from my “understanding” of the guitar. If I truly understand how to play the guitar, the guitar plays itself.

This kind of knowledge is the knowledge that exists apart from my experience and is something that I must go towards in order to find, access or express.

It exists in the mind and is normally derived from an experience we have had in the past and something that we don’t currently appear to have until we find it again.

Hence with the search for truth and the “coming back from” spiritual or awakening experiences. Either through memory, a book, or google. It is a view of knowledge that is at a distance from us.

This is why, those who have had awakening experiences that seem to know their true nature yet still feel unhappy and seek, are those who simply need context. The context they really need is the unlearning process of pure understanding that I’m speaking of here.

In understanding, it’s embodied and effortless. Our first language is an example of that. Mastering an instrument is an example of that. Driving a car is an example of that. True meditation is an example of that.

It means that whatever it is, it is forgotten. It’s a part of our experience as effortlessly as our sense organs. As easy as it is to move our attention. As easy as walking. Or even blinking. We can’t really say it’s an effort at all.

We don’t know how to walk, it just happens, even though there was a careful struggle at first as infants in order to do so. We made an effort until it was effortless.

Then to remove the concession of the belief that there is an effort at all for anything we do, we can then say even our effort is always effortless. Our will is so strong it carries the weight of the experience of effort. That is our experience of the apparent effort we may take on this path. It is a divine effort. In other words, it’s an effortless effort.

An effort we seem to make — only relative to the real effort which was resisting the effortless flow.

Whatever we understand, we embody, whatever we embody is recognised as effortless. We can’t say it has “become” effortless. It’s recognised as effortless because of the prior resistance to allowing the way of life to move through us.

The effortlessness, whatever that effortlessness is, is what we are. Not the activity itself, but the very experience of effortlessness.

When we understand something, we no longer do it. It is as if it’s done. Take driving for example. If you’ve driven for longer than a few years, you will see that you no longer even drive the car. You are merely the consciousness that facilitates the driving experience.

Well likewise, we are merely the consciousness that facilitates the life experience. However, instead of being body and car, or body and world, we are simply Being, Alive.

We don’t even need to process directions if we have understood the route, we drive there automatically without even thinking about what turns to take. Life drives the car through our body while we talk, sing, eat a sandwich, or whatever other dangerous activities we do while driving. The minute ours or someone else’s attention is not sufficient enough to facilitate the driving experience, is the minute we crash the car.

This is why you have probably felt confident to do some pretty ridiculous things while you drive sometimes. People only crash when their attention stops sustaining the driving experince. If it forgets it’s driving, that’s what stops this energy from sustaining the driving experience, which is why people crash.

This also accounts for how we can speak to people who are in the car with us like it’s nothing. They share our driving experience. It’s not the fact we are holding a phone and talking that can people to crash.

It’s the fact that the person we are speaking to and sharing attention with is not supporting the driving experience with us, simply because they aren’t there. Which can make it easier for us to forget we are actually in the driving experience.

Now in the same way, what would happen if we took this understanding and applied it to understand the nature of being alive?

We would move into the effortlessness of the flow of life. We come to the ultimate understanding that takes the activity of a separate self out of the equation. There is no room left for a doer from this perspective.

And likewise — with the driving experience, we love being around happy people because they are fully sharing the life experience with us. It makes it way less easy for us to forget our true nature.

But ultimately, we don’t want to limit our freedom to needing these heavy reminders in order to experience our being. We want to live there regardless of what’s around us.

Life is the true and only flow state. There is nowhere left to turn.

Effortlessness is to be the doing of all that’s done without being the doing of it.

Life moves through the body and mind with ease as we abide resting as the peace of our true nature, yet fully engaged in all of life’s activities.

This is not a passive experience. It’s a fully engaging experience. Because it’s so passive in fact, it allows for the ultimate engagement with life. It allows the space to fully experience being alive.

Therefore, meditation is the nature of being alive. It can’t be any other way!

So, I am here to speak of one thing, being alive. I throw all other concepts in the pile of concepts pile. Why? Because being alive is all we are or ever could be. It is not a theory, it is not a concept, it is our only experience.

It is where we derive the most desired experience of all, which is to experience our own aliveness.

That which is alive is the knowledge beyond all things known. This does not mean that it is some exotic secret that can only be heard in a certain language from a scroll hidden in the caves in the Himalayas. It is the most simple and obvious part of our experience, it should be excruciatingly simple, and it is.

It is said to be “beyond” knowledge simply because knowledge can only be known in form. In other words, knowledge can only be of something in objective experience, such as a thought or an idea, object or thing.

Anything we call an object is only rendered as an object strictly because of our thought or idea about it.

The knowing of being alive is not objective knowledge. Yet we experience it. If we didn’t experience it, well, we wouldn’t exist.

Now when we know we are alive, which is the same as saying “I am aware I exist” or “I, consciousness, am aware of myself” we know that which is unobjective. That knowledge is not an object. It is not objective knowledge and therefore “beyond” knowledge.

How can we understand something that is not objective knowledge? We can’t, but what we can understand is that we are that which understands. We are understanding itself.

Therefore if we remove beliefs (not by force, but from clear seeing) that are not true to our experience, or, as attempted here, we are simply left with what is true.

And if we appear to still not see what is true, then at the very least we are left ripe for the truth to reveal itself. However, we must notice that truth is always only revealed to itself, by itself, there is no personal entity that reveals the truth.

What is always left, whether we see it or not, is the raw experience of being alive. Pure consciousness. The source of knowledge.

All the Love and Wonder,


Hey! If you resonate with this content, I have more. Check out my website and offering at The Thought Dojo and instagram @sajafendel to ask any questions or interact.



Saja Fendél

Deepen your intimacy and romance with life. Writer of pathways to unconditional happiness, the nature of reality and the essence of perennial philosophy.