To complete the last article, consider this:
“Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” ( From Batman Begins)
The above is a “spiritual” quote with the teaching to “never give up.” Nevertheless, it is not the complete phrase describing Life.
“Why do we rise, sir? So that we can learn to fall.”
Now, that is the complete experience.
To rise and fall come in the same package. Those are not different things, as we have been conditioned to believe. Being “successful” is only a word that we use to segment our lives. Yes, you can be “successful” at work, in sports, in your family life, at church, and whatever else we may think that we are “successful” at. BUT, that is not the whole package.
What about your health? What about your inner peace? What about your fears? What about your sex life?
Are you “successful” in all those facets at the same time, for as long as you live?
Under the above “reality” the perception of “success” and “failure” will vanish.
Now consider this:
“The true path is to go North. Follow me.” Sounds familiar?
That is incomplete.
However, the sage came a few days later and said: “The true path is to go South. Follow me.”
His followers were baffled. Why is this sage contradicting himself? Logically, there is no “truth” in contradiction! He is not a sage at all!
Which one is the true path? It is North or South? There cannot be both!
The sage gave the full experience: North and South. His followers may need a little de-conditioning to understand that.
If you could walk North all the way on Earth, wouldn’t you end up South?
That is “reality.” However, our minds are conditioned to perceive North and South as 2 different things. The “reality” of their difference is only referential.
Most religious “spirituality” avoid the full experience and embraces only one side of their own creation of duality.
“Do not do this…” This is the “true” path!
What could be the practical lesson out of the above?
Any spiritual path which does not embrace the whole human experience, is only a partial path.
Any religious holy book embracing only one side of a duality, is not the complete path. It is partial. It may have benefits for followers, yes… but it is not complete.
Self-realization is a path of inclusion, completeness; where openness of that which we know as “I,” opens in such a way as to disappear in the immensity of Oneness.
That openness can be labeled as “surrender” ”egolessness” or some other “spiritual” label.
“You” are God, not because you ARE, but because “you” ARE NOT.
“You” are Life, not because you ARE the same as Life, but because “you” ARE NOT.
When “you” ARE, you cannot be anything else. “You” ARE stuck in “you,” so self-absorbed that “you” can only separate from everyone else and Life. The paradox being that that which we think we ARE, we ARE NOT. What you put in words, is not.
Perhaps, this is the main issue with “spirituality “for the masses:
It is so concerned in making believers become something that they ARE NOT instead of supporting the seeking of who they ARE.
When you find who you ARE, you will find all the answers, without asking a question. 🙂
Joshu asked Nansen: “What is the path?”
Nansen said: “Everyday life is the path.”
Joshua asked: “Can it be studied?”
Nansen said: “If you try to study, you will be far away from it.”
Joshu asked: “If I do not study, how can I know it is the path?”
Nansen said: “The path does not belong to the perception world, neither does it belong to the non perception world. Cognition is a delusion and noncognition is senseless. If you want to reach the true path beyond all doubt, place yourself in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not-good.”
At these words Joshu was enlightened.
Mumon’s comment: Nansen could melt Joshu’s frozen doubts at once when Joshu asked his questions. I doubt though if Joshu reached the point that Nansen did. He needed thirty more years of study.
from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings Compiled by Paul Reps (Anchor Books, New York ~ 1956)
The above came in an email to me.
“Mumon’s comment,” show the “enlightenment of knowing.” To be able to express what Mumon said, is the knowing of going through Life itself in awareness.
Is to study “bad,” a waste of time in “Spirituality”?
Neither good nor bad. It is part of the necessary experience and not the ultimate experience.
No one could become “enlightened” by just hearing words which just “make sense” to them. There has to be a background of experiences along with deep insight, which does not come from being “intelligent” or well read.
A person lost in rationality cannot flow with Life. A person who does not have critical thinking skills, is an easy prey for beliefs.
Let me share what I see through my experience in Life, as being the obstacle for seekers not being able to open up to a different consciousness:
Rationality. Thinking. Beliefs: Believing in the “only way.” Believing that “spiritual” experiences come included with a dogma to be followed, studied and recited to others. “Black or White” mentality.
That sense of “freedom as the sky” as Nansen mentioned, is lost in the cage of beliefs and rationality and with that our ability to perceive Life without beliefs.
For example, when someone makes Zen as Zen by defining it, by giving it boundaries, then, that “practice” becomes another dogma just like any other dogmatic religion full of beliefs.
Let me put it in another way, anything that we define becomes rigid in our mind. That rigidity is not consistent with the way Life is, which is constant change.
Defining Life as being “constant change,” is not what is. It is just a way to express something for the majority to understand, to “like” a writing, but the “reality” of defining Life as being change, makes of Life an unchanging event, stuck in change. Paradoxical wording.
Life is…. Life. “What is.” 🙂
The above is what a Zen student may enjoy. The puzzling, contradictory words which break the system of linear logic and black or white mentality; however, let me tell you something:
That game of words is completely and utterly meaningless. That game of debating as to who has the best “rationale,” is empty of substance.
Let me put it in a short phrase: The more we think, define and reason, the further away from “what is” we will go.
“Geshe” is an “academic degree” emphasized by a tradition of Buddhism for nuns and monks.
Someone could be very intelligent to get that “degree,” nevertheless; it does not mean that his consciousness has changed. In that sense that intellectual prowess is a fake façade hiding the real self, which is BEING not THINKING.
“What do you think I should do?” Anyone could come up with “solutions.” That is all in the realm of ideas, “theory.”
“Spiritual” people, full of degrees in Metaphysical studies and/or labels such as “yogi,” “guru,” “priest,” etc. may be well versed in words, logic and reason; but their consciousness may be at the same level of a “normal” everyday man: Full of “I,” beliefs, emotions and moral standards.
Are degrees “bad”? Neither good nor bad. Useful in the “Office world,” useless in Life outside the office world.
BEING, CONSCIOUSNESS changes all by itself through the assimilation of Life experiences. There is no study, no religion, no dogma, no God, no book or philosophy able to make that change to fulfill our needs for “enlightenment.”
Therefore, what do we need to “do” in Life?
To BE free like the sky, to let it happen.
Who is not allowing that “change” to happen?
That is the process of the path itself. Some like to label that, to define that… as the “I.”
There is no true path other than Life itself.
A “true path” is true for someone only as long as that one is true with himself.
Therefore all religious paths and philosophies are partially true for they only represent a partiality of Life.
If you search for a “true path,” any path will do.
A chosen path is not true with yourself.
To “choose” means to accommodate things.
When Life presents a path and you follow it as the “true path,” little by little that path will change to be a false one for you. If it is not so, you are not being true to yourself.
How is that happening?
That “you” will change in time. Thus, to accommodate that “you” to fit a previously “true path,” is to be false, dishonest with yourself.
How long does it take for something true to change into false?
Only time can tell. It is different for everyone. Nevertheless, the right timing arrives exactly in the moment when you are not being true to yourself.
In Life, if you select the right path and reject the left; little by little your path will become the left path.
“Yes” changes into “No,” little by little. Those little changes go according to the subtlety of changes in Life. That is a natural change.
If “Yes” was to change into “NO” right away; that is a violent act.
Knowing that, what good is to choose “UP” if that means to go “Down”?
It is not a question of what is “good or bad” but a question of being true to yourself at every moment, no matter what is the path.