Riding An Ox
by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
There is the story about a Zen master who, when asked by a disciple how one awakens, replied, "It is very much like looking for an ox while riding an ox."
What we seek is so close, so intimately ourselves, that we cannot see it.
There is a story in Buddhist tradition about a man who, because he could not see his head, went mad looking for it.
We are already that which we seek. But we do not see it. We must realize it. But what we need to realize is that the realization makes no difference. We do not become something else; we simply realize what we already are.
What is that? Reality, of course. But what is that? Who knows? It makes no difference.
To 'realize' this means a great deal more than to understand it, of course. Somehow it becomes how we view the world. Something happens. Experiential glimpses are possible, but the theoretically irrevocable experience is something else. I say theoretical because, until one has personally experienced it, it must necessarily be only theoretical, whatever some guru might say.
It helps, nonetheless, to 'understand' something of it. And one way to do this is to discover what it is in us that hinders our realization of it. Why does the idea that we are, just as we are, perfectly an expression of Reality, rub us the wrong way? Because we are imperfect, of course. How could this me-mess be Reality? Because it is. How many Realities might there be?
Acceptance and affirmation, so inexplicably difficult to realize, are at the heart of the experience of Unity.
So, that takes care of my me-mess. But there remains the problem of your me-mess. If I, in my imperfections, am a perfect expression of what IS, then you must be, too. But that is asking a lot for me to accept. You probably don't even share my opinions. In fact, you probably hold all manner of 'wrong' opinions. If you knew me, you might not even like me. You are probably criticizing me even now!
But wait. That, too, is Reality. And if I don't like it, that's Reality, too. So, all that remains, if I wish to go one step further, is for me to experientially realize this and then I won't criticize you or care if you criticize me. And you, too, me — if you wish.
You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.