This is the nature of the unenlightened mind: The sense organs, which are limited in scope and ability, randomly gather information. This partial information is arranged into judgements, which are based on previous judgements, which are usually based on someone else’s foolish ideas. These false concepts and ideas are then stored in a highly selective memory system.
Distortion upon distortion: the mental energy flows constantly through contorted and inappropriate channels, and the more one uses the mind, the more confused one becomes.
To eliminate the vexation of the mind, it doesn’t help to do something; this only reinforces the mind’s mechanics. Dissolving the mind is instead a matter of not-doing: Simply avoid becoming attached to what you see and think. Relinquish the notion that you are separated from the all-knowing mind of the universe. Then you can recover your original pure insight and see through all illusions. Knowing nothing, you will be aware of everything.
Remember: because clarity and enlightenment are within your own nature, they are regained without moving an inch.
Why scurry about looking for the truth? It vibrates in every thing and every not-thing, right off the tip of your nose. Can you be still and see it in the mountain? the pine tree? yourself?
Don’t imagine that you’ll discover it by accumulating more knowledge. Knowledge creates doubt, and doubt makes you ravenous for more knowledge. You can’t get full eating this way. The wise person dines on something more subtle: He eats the understanding that the named was born from the unnamed, that all being flows from non- being, that the describable world emanates from an indescribable source. He finds this subtle truth inside his own self, and becomes completely content.
So who can be still and watch the chess game of the world? The foolish are always making impulsive moves, but the wise know that victory and defeat are decided by something more subtle. They see that something perfect exists before any move is made.
This subtle perfection deteriorates when artificial actions are taken, so be content not to disturb the peace. Remain quiet. Discover the harmony in your own being. Embrace it.
If you can do this, you will gain everything, and the world will become healthy again. If you can’t, you will be lost in the shadows forever.
Living from A Non-Dual Perspective By Matthew Flickstein
Everything that arises, disappears; whatever is born, dies. Nothing escapes the cycle of birth and death. It is important for us to directly and experientially realize that there is never a point in time when something “exists” and is not in the process of becoming something other than it was just a moment before. All suffering comes from attachment – trying to hold on to that which is perpetually changing – and all attachment comes from delusion. We need to learn to live in the clarity and space of non-attachment, neither grasping nor pushing anything away. The key is to just be present with what arises from moment to moment, without holding or resisting. At the same time, it is essential not to fall into the trap of denying the relative existence of our psychophysical organism and the world of experience it presents.
Compassion is the willingness to play in the field of dreams even though you are awake. Approach life with joy, enthusiasm, love, and an open heart. Take delight in the manifestations of life: It is all a play of consciousness, and it is really all play. If something appears serious or burdensome – even death – then we are lost in delusion. The “field of dreams” is this world of the senses with all its myriad forms. Being awake is the direct knowing that there is no one who suffers, no one who is born, and on one who dies. It is the five aggregates that are born and die. Who we are has never been born and never dies.
In actuality, there is no one who is expressing compassion to anyone else. It is all part of the play. The world is our mirror. There is only consciousness rising and falling along with its objects; it is all selfless. Whatever we see as being real is a projection of our own mind. It is where our mind is stuck or identified with the illusion.
Nothing exists – not even nothing. Existence and non-existence are both concepts. Not holding anywhere is freedom beyond measure.
We must die to each moment and allow life to express itself through and as us. Our lives may not turn out the way in which the ego has imagined, but when we surrender to the truth of what is, we will find freedom beyond measure as surely as the river finds its way to the sea. When we move beyond the dualistic world, there is a rebirth into the deathless. We finally come home to a place that we have really never left.
In this passing moment karma ripens and all things come to be. I vow to choose what is: If there is cost, I choose to pay. If there is need, I choose to give. If there is pain, I choose to feel. If there is sorrow, I choose to grieve. When burning -- I choose heat. When calm -- I choose peace. When starving -- I choose hunger. When happy -- I choose joy. Whom I encounter, I choose to meet. What I shoulder, I choose to bear. When it is my death, I choose to die. Where this takes me, I choose to go. Being with what is -- I respond to what is. This life is as real as a dream; the one who knows it can not be found; and, truth is not a thing -- Therefore I vow to choose THIS dharma entrance gate! May all Buddhas and Wise Ones help me live this vow.
Strong in the rain Strong in the wind Strong against the summer heat and snow He is healthy and robust Free from desire He never loses his temper Nor the quiet smile on his lips He eats four go of unpolished rice Miso and a few vegetables a day He does not consider himself In whatever occurs His understanding Comes from observation and experience And he never loses sight of things He lives in a little thatched-roof hut In a field in the shadows of a pine tree grove If there is a sick child in the east He goes there to nurse the child If there’s a tired mother in the west He goes to her and carries her sheaves If someone is near death in the south He goes and says, ‘Don’t be afraid’ If there are strife and lawsuits in the north He demands that the people put an end to their pettiness He weeps at the time of drought He plods about at a loss during the cold summer Everybody calls him Blockhead No one sings his praises Or takes him to heart... That is the sort of person I want to be Kenji Miyazawa
Gate C22 At gate C22 in the Portland airport a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed a woman arriving from Orange County. They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking, the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other like he'd just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island, like she'd been released at last from ICU, snapped out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.
Neither of them was young. His beard was gray. She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish kisses like the ocean in the early morning, the way it gathers and swells, sucking each rock under, swallowing it again and again. We were all watching-- passengers waiting for the delayed flight to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots, the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling sunglasses. We couldn't look away. We could taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.
But the best part was his face. When he drew back and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost as though he were a mother still open from giving birth, as your mother must have looked at you, no matter what happened after--if she beat you or left you or you're lonely now--you once lay there, the vernix not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth. The whole wing of the airport hushed, all of us trying to slip into that woman's middle-aged body, her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses, little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.
If I knew I would be dead by this time next year I believe I would spend the months from now till then writing thank-you notes to strangers and acquaintances, telling them, “You really were a great travel agent,” or “I never got the taste of your kisses out of my mouth.” or “Watching you walk across the room was part of my destination.” It would be the equivalent, I think, of leaving a chocolate wrapped in shiny foil on the pillow of a guest in a hotel– “Hotel of earth, where we resided for some years together,” I start to say, before I realize it is a terrible cliche, and stop, and then go on, forgiving myself in a mere split second because now that I’m dying, I just go forward like water, flowing around obstacles and second thoughts, not getting snagged, just continuing with my long list of thank-yous, which seems to naturally expand to include sunlight and wind, and the aspen trees which gleam and shimmer in the yard as if grateful for being soaked last night by the irrigation system invented by an individual to whom I am quietly grateful. Outside it is autumn, the philosophical season, when cold air sharpens the intellect; the hills are red and copper in their shaggy majesty. The clouds blow overhead like governments and years. It took me a long time to understand the phrase “distant regard,” but I am grateful for it now, and I am grateful for my heart, that turned out to be good, after all; and grateful for my mind, to which, in retrospect, I can see I have never been sufficiently kind.
Don’t try to figure out what behavior or opinion will make you popular with others. It is disrespectful to the grandeur of who you really are. It is selling your soul for the low outcome of manipulating the superficial affections of others—as if you needed their approval. Be what you are. Be indifferent to the judgments of others, not with a thoughtless or angry defiance, but with the firm knowledge that you are a vital expression of something unspeakably intelligent and good.
Forget about what you have been before. Forget what you’ve said before. Be what you are now, even if it “isn’t you”— that is, even if it seems to contradict what you or others have pigeonholed you to be. Be free. Be the creative force on the crest of the mighty wave of this very instant.
It is a healthy attitude to consider conciliatory behavior beneath you. In other words, don’t try to gain goodwill by displaying pleasing behavior. Don’t try to beg for peoples’ approval. That is the attitude of someone who doesn’t feel he has a right to be what he is, to feel the way he feels, to think what he thinks. But you DO have the right.
…Excerpt from Emerson’s Self-Reliance Essay translated into modern English by Adam Khan