The paths: Accept or Deny
To get a feel of Life, we may come to arrive to 2 different perspectives which paradoxically will take us to the same place.
We are nothing.
We are Everything.
That is it. That is why, I have written in a past article, that nothing is equal to everything.
If the above cannot be understood or the selection of words were not proper, the Hua Hu Ching, mentions 2 paths:
The path of acceptance
The path of denial.
Thus, in Life acceptance equals denial.
The mind probably is confused. The above does not make sense. Acceptance cannot be equal to denial. They are opposites. Correct?
So an explanation is needed: Affirm everything and everyone. Embrace all things. Extend your goodwill to every direction regardless of circumstances. That is acceptance.
Tantra. That is acceptance of everything including your sexuality.
Another name? Taoism, openness, surrendering.
And the other path?
Everything that we perceive and think is an illusion, supported by our limited senses and limited understanding. Peel all the veils to arrive at the oneness of all.
Yoga. That is denial of everything to be one, to be in union, to merge, to be nothing. Another name? Buddhism, Zen.
Our society is between those paths of self-realization.
We are taught to be someone, to become someone.
We are taught to support one side of a duality and to reject the other. Choose acceptance or choose denial not both.
What is “good”? What society teaches you to be good.
What is “evil”? what society teaches you to be evil. Yet, good and evil come always together. Our rejection of one side of a duality, must be experienced sooner or later.
Have you seen that in every issue there are at least 2 sides? Right and Wrong.
Morality has an imaginary line, that keeps moving every time to protect the “right ones” and to condemn the “wrong ones.”
Another name for this path? Insanity.
Most traditional religions embrace that.
Bring a God. Reject the Devil. Both cannot live without each other. You choose one. You are someone.
Support what is “right.” Reject what is “wrong.” Fight with “someone.” You are “someone.” Another name for “Someone”? Ego.
When you are someone, you cannot be Everything.
When you are someone, to be Nothing is something to reject to be afraid of… but yet to be nothing is the way to be everything, and when “you” are everything… “you” cannot cease to BE, although, “you” are not … 🙂
Everyday Life is the Path
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.”
Mindfulness, no-mind and compassion
Many times we hear those words (Mindfulness, no-mind, compassion) in “new age” spirituality, which are borrowed from Buddhism and Zen.
The interesting thing to note is that without the experience of “what is,” we are left with pretty concepts to talk about, discuss so the “I” can look knowledgeable in “spiritual matters.”
The mentality of the follower who only picks up concepts here and there, is not the inner work required to live those words.
In Information technology and the “office environment,” we could sound “very knowledgeable” if we just repeat some concepts and spit them out at every meeting.
TCO (total cost of ownership) ROI (return on investment) IaaS (infrastructure as a service) etc, etc.
All you have to do is to use those acronyms left and right to amaze those who do not know them.
When we transfer that “office mentality” into living life with joy, we will find out that “talking the talk” will not get us an “interview” or a “salary increase” with life.
The duality of mindfulness and no-mind needs to go.
To use the mind to be in the moment, focused in the moment is achieved as well when there is no mind.
No-mind may sound “illogical” but not for a follower of Zen. That concept, “no-mind” is part of their repertoire of beliefs.
Playing in the duality of mindfulness and no mind we forget about feeling, we forget about compassion.
Compassion is not something coming from mindfulness or no-mind. It comes from the heart.
Compassion is not to feel pity for another. “Oh… poor thing…” Compassion is to recognize every aspect “out there” in yourself.
Bryan has a friend who is a heavy smoker. “Albert” just turned 30 this year. Bryan mentioned to him that to be healthy is very important to enjoy life.
Albert understands that intellectually but he says: “I started smoking when I was 15 and it is very hard to quit.”
Albert threw away his cigarette after the brief talk.
The next day, he was smoking again.
Compassion could be the feeling at that point.
Bryan is able to recognize that according to Albert’s consciousness; further suffering may be needed. That is part of his path in life. Bryan recognizes that many times his understanding about his own situation in life was lacking, so suffering was needed to draw the line.
It is not a matter of “will power” alone which is a kind of suppression combined with violence to the self. It is not a matter of further “preaching.” There has to be an internal understanding and love to life and living which is beyond a concept, to be able to change ways into something different.
That change will happen naturally as the product of a new consciousness and not because of some external compulsion, fear or “black or white” law.
Compassion is not coming out of mindfulness or no mind. It is coming out of inner understanding and respect for everyone’s processes in life.
To be addicted to mental concepts without the experience of what something is, may be one of the greatest ways to increase our ego.
That may be “good” for the office world, but that is not part of learning to live life with joy. 🙂
The beauty of Zen meditation
In Spirituality we learn a concept and we talk about applying it in real life; but most of the time we are short from that “dream.”
For example let us take a look at a spiritual law such as “karma.” We could be very knowledgeable on what karma is. We could give many talks about it, but when “real” life comes, at that point we forget everything. We cannot “apply” the theory into the practical.
When it is about life itself, doubts may even come: Did I act in a way as to create “good” karma or not?
Then at that point, we need reassurance from someone. The authority, the senior, the priest; someone who will give us reassurance about the “goodness” of our actions. We don’t know what karma is when it is applied to our own life.
The bottom line is that theoretical know-how is just another nice concept to talk about. Something to debate about on a Saturday afternoon while drinking tea or coffee… or just water 🙂
Wouldn’t it be nice to have our own laboratory where we could experiment with our own selves in relationship with life, by looking at it, by feeling the feelings that are going on at one moment in time with total awareness? Wouldn’t it be nice to know by sensing it, by feeling something rather than just thinking?
That inner laboratory is Zen meditation for Avyakt7.
We are part of life. In Spirituality the whole is equal to the part; any part; thus within myself lays the totality of life, the universe, all what is.
In Zen meditation, the task is only to sit. Put your “effort” on sitting. That is all… but then let everything else happen as your breath is; automatically effortlessly as it is meant to be. No need to control anything.
Just “sitting” is a very complex matter when our mind is cluttered with thoughts. Then, we are not just sitting; but we are “doing” other things even though sitting.
If we have experienced “just sitting,” then we can observe everything else. We can feel everything: Breathing, tiredness, nervousness, anxiety, impatience, fears…. They start coming out.
If we don’t move at all during those 25 minutes that we are sitting in a particular posture, (traditionally half-lotus or full lotus, but a chair is alright) we could feel elation coming from the “inner smile” of feeling the inner self; but at the same time; we could feel physical pain: knees, groin, muscle cramps, etc.
What do you do?
Observe how the mind reacts and how our calm state changes. Observe how when there is deep acceptance, things become easier to deal with.
That attitude is useful in “real life,” out of the laboratory. No need to remember the law of “karma” when we understand “not doing.” 🙂
But, what about if we break something or hurt ourselves by sitting there?
The lesson of learning our own limits is important. Many times in “real life,” we break down and exceed our own capabilities. Know your limits. A “don’t move” means, “go ahead, move” in some occasions. This is the wisdom of living life and not of some theory to be applied by everyone at all circumstances.
In this “inner laboratory” many things could happen. It is one of the best tools that Avyakt7 has found to become acquainted with himself… while “just sitting.”
Note that there are no beliefs here. Nothing to think about or visualize. It is as “real” as sitting. We can look at the wall for additional “reassurance” that we are indeed “just sitting.”
In this practice, we can connect with “nothing” and be everything. We can learn from “no one” and learn a lot.
We could experience life while doing nothing, that is we could go back to sheer activity without moving an inch. 🙂
The heart of understanding – Thich Nhat Hanh
For those interested in the “heart” level of understanding of the unity and inter-relation of all; I would highly recommend to take a look at the attached pdf.
It is a very small book written by Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a Zen Buddhist monk well known for his peaceful vibrations and gentle manner. He is from Vietnam and known for his peace activism.
This book has deep understanding in its simplicity. It is a commentary on the “prajnaparamita (perfect wisdom) heart sutra,” (brief precept) which is the “heart” of Buddhism.
Buddhists usually chant this sutra in their meetings.
Avyakt7 is not fond on reading books, but once in a while according to the synchronicities of life; something comes along which becomes helpful. Last week, this book came into my awareness.
Just sharing it.
Is Consciousness fixed ? Question by a Brahma Kumaris follower
“(“Souls come down here to play a part. The part is of 84 births. You play all-round parts. This drama is predestined. Everyone has his own imperishable part within him that can never be erased. You will continue to experience 84 births.”) Sir what I understand from above lines is that in every ‘Yug’ whatever part or role we play is prefixed and we play this part or role according to our state of consciousness (soul conscious or body conscious state). For e.g. like when a director gives a role to an actor/actress, that actor plays it according to his own capability, strength & qualities….Does it mean that in Golden & silver age we are more of soul conscious & near to God (means Godlike) we play that role perfect but in Copper & Iron age we are more of body conscious this is why we are suffering so much? means we didn’t play that role perfectly and thus our karma became vikarm. Every time we played that fixed role it means our state of consciousness is also fixed??? Plz explain this i am confuse… 🙂 “
Thank you for your question!
To understand the above with greater depth, I hope that you realize that dualistic language will make things hard to grasp.
It is an experience. It has to happen in your awareness for you to see it, otherwise you will remain confused with only intellectual information, concepts, reasoning, logic, all of that.
Consciousness is not fixed. Consciousness is. There can be less or more consciousness accordingly in life. Those are called “roles” in life.
When avyakt7 says : “you,” he is not referring to you as part of existence, but you as a concept, something separated from the rest when there is truly no separation.
“You” as what you think that you are…. doesn’t exist.” It is an illusion, Maya.
Forget concepts, definitions… those will only increase that sense of “I.”
This eternal movie plays through “you” but “you” truly don’t exist. 🙂 You are part of that movie. There is just eternal consciousness, once “you” experience that, all your troubles about understanding beliefs and dualistic thought will be over.
Consciousness is the movie.
Descartes said:” I think therefore I am.” That just shows basic consciousness.
“I am, therefore; I am not;” has way more validity.
When you are consciously aware of yourself, that is when you observe yourself; (when you remember God alone in your belief system) then you will see that there is a consciousness of “I” appearing where there was none before. From that point, “I” against the world became alive. That is suffering. That “I” is known as ego.
In this movie of life, if your consciousness is able to discern that you are not the role being played through you, that is when the dreamer realizes that everything is just a dream. From that moment you will start enjoying the dream as something to experience. Then, you will be a “detached observer.” Then you will perform “neutral” karma, then you will be “soul conscious,” then you will be “illuminated,” then the “I” from ego will not bet there, so you will be “egoless,” then you will have “all relationships with the Father,” then you will be “equal to God.” You will be beyond duality.
Because “you” are not there. 🙂
At this point the concepts of predestination or free will, do not have any meaning. Concepts of time and “yugs” are meaningless.
If “you” are there, then you will experience duality and with that suffering and pleasure, because there is a center, this “I” which feels separated from everything else and rejects one side of duality to pursue the other.
The above is Brahma Kumaris knowledge in its depth. It is also Buddhism, Taoism and Zen in a nutshell.
Understanding Spirituality beyond the childhood stage
To know those things in life which will be detrimental to spiritual growth is part of the training in the childhood stage of spirituality.
Most religions will put it simply as knowing what is good and what is evil. Nevertheless, according to the path that one follows, there will be discrepancies even into what is “good,” that is simply because there are different paths for different individuals. We are not equal in our capacity, understanding and life experiences. We are numberwise.
This obviously creates something beyond the first stage of spirituality, something beyond the limited understanding of “good and bad.”
The image that comes to mind is the TV program “Kung Fu.” (one of the most inspiring TV programs ever created from my view.) It was a series originally created in the 1970’s relating the life story and adventures of Kwai Chang Caine, a half American, half Chinese Taoist monk, who later became a Shaolin priest.
While living in the Shaolin temple, Kwai Chang learned and acquired different spiritual abilities. Later, he went through his “test,” to graduate as a master. After successfully completing this test, it was expected that the “new” master will leave the Shaolin temple and live as a Shaolin priest among the regular people. Here is where the bulk of his adventures will take place as he remembered the teachings that his masters back in the Shaolin temple taught him.
Leaving the temple and being by ourselves is part of the growth process in spiritual life. Here is the “field” where the game takes place. Nevertheless, this is not for everyone. Not everyone becomes a Shaolin master. The connection between being a monk and then a shaolin master hasn’t been disrupted when leaving the temple, but rather it is the “next step.”
“To live life is to prepare to die,” mentioned Socrates. In spirituality, there is death at every moment, for change is unavoidable. The issue is when we want to hold on to our “old” self rather than embracing and accepting the “new.”
All religions will speak about this “final moment,” the way every religion deals with this will be different: Some will ask you to pray to God, others will merely ask you to believe in Jesus and to repent at the end; while others will speak about shedding your body as a “snake does with its old skin,” in the final moments. That is, to be able to feel at ease with the new body-less experience.
Evidently this task, takes more work than just a belief in salvation at the last moment. However, a due respect for all beliefs is in place.
Let me recall one of the most important teachings taught to me by BapDada ( A.M 3/16/86) “The paper of the final result will be only a few seconds or a few minutes. However, you will receive a number on the basis of your remaining unshakable in an atmosphere of upheaval over a long time, then what will be the result at the end? Therefore, practice the exercise of spiritual drill. You should be able to stabilize your mind wherever you want for as long as you want. The final paper is very easy. And you have been told in advance what paper you are going to get, but the number will be given in a very short space of time. Your stage should also be powerful.”
That is it. Stability of the mind while in an atmosphere of upheaval over a long period of time. That is a “powerful” stage.
It isn’t about living in the monastery where there is peace already, but to be where there is not. To be there in the “real world,” but with a new attitude and conscience brought through the childhood stage of spirituality. Again, this is not for everyone, unless ready.
Zen Buddhism and other religious practices will go into the importance of the stability of the mind. That is their teaching.
To be “absorbed in the love of the Father ,” is a method to maintain the mind stable and many other religions such as Sufism will teach this. That is what they practice to get to the same goal.
However, once the experience is there, the method must be abandoned for newness to appear. To have this openness, this faith in our own acquired skills to face life and live harmoniously in it, is part of the stage beyond childhood; where the doors are wide open and life is there to be experienced under a new vision.