Saturday, October 14, 2017
Everything You Need is Nothing
In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is acquired
In pursuit of Tao, every day something is released
~Tao Te Ching
We read or listen to the words of spiritual teachers. We takes notes. We study. We try to remember, hoping that the memory of words spoken or written in the past will somehow lead to awakening in the future.
And all the while we are ignoring the only possible time that awakening can happen – the present moment. And we are doing the opposite of what most teachers teach – to release. Instead we are trying our best to accumulate and retain information about a concept that we reach for as it dances just beyond our grasp.
It is never enough. We are never enough. If only I read one more book, listen to one more podcast, attend one more workshop, do more, try harder, be better....
I get that, as my shelves full of books attest. But just as you can’t learn to ride a bicycle from reading or talking about it, you will never be able to think your way to awakening. Because it isn’t a thought.
It is simply our natural state. It is who we are. Its eternal flame is obscured by our effort, by our thoughts, by our stories. But it shines on without regard for our determined quest to find it. The comparison is sometimes made to a fish in the ocean looking for water. But it is even more basic than that. It is like the ocean itself looking for water, unaware of its own nature.
We think it grand, but it is quite ordinary. It is not an escape from reality. Escaping is what we are trying to do as we search for it. It is reality, and when we finally exhaust ourselves and stop looking for it, it is revealed. We are revealed.
And what can we do then but laugh and go on with our day, our ordinary, marvelous, amazing day.
Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water
After enlightenment, chop wood carry water