Saturday, December 17, 2011

Letting Be II: Never This or That

Scott Bradley


Discussing the meditative technique of letting be in the previous post we arrived, as is so often the case, at an infinite regress. Letting be is essentially wu wei, not-doing. Yet, to let be is to do something; a doer remains. Thus, we must let letting-be be, ad infinitum.

Thoughts arise. We let them. To try and stop them would be to attach to them. Nor do we follow after them. One thought gives rise to another, but we do not follow their causation. We do not make them our own. Whether we stop or pursue them, we are attached to them; we make them our own. But in making them our own we, in fact, become them. We are these thoughts. Thus, I wrote that to let be is to not be. Attached to nothing, what are we?

Heavy, focused thoughts quickly disappear. We might miss them. What is there now to let be? Whatever is there. For whatever is there, whether a sensation of presence or emptiness, is a sense of being this or that. Letting this be, we are not this. What are we? We are the next sensation — or we are that which is never this or that, but always a not-being-anything- in-particular.

Infinite regress is possible because there are endless things with which to identify and infinite acts of dis-identifying with them. This is the exercise of letting be. But we exercise so as to realize a way of being which is a having-let-be, a way of being-nothing-in-particular, a way which has truly let letting-be be.

The classic Sanskrit formula for pointing to the Ultimate, neti, neti, 'not this, not that', is not intended as simply a proscription of attempting to grasp the Ultimate cognitively. It is intended as a gate whereby to experience the Ultimate. It is an invitation to participate in the undifferentiated Vastness. Similarly, when we enter our own inner world of consciousness, not this-not that becomes our gateway to that same Vastness which we are, should we realize we are nothing in particular.

One thing that makes me very wary of every what and how of things spiritual is that I, too, am able to pronounce upon them in what seems, to me at least, a very convincing way, while really having never experienced the end of which I speak. I hope you will forgive me, therefore, when, after I have concocted a most fragrant ointment, I always add a fine blue-bottle fly. Or, perhaps more to the point, I hope you will forgive me for making the ointment at all. Yet, who knows, it may be of some use, if you can see past the fly.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

1 comment:

  1. When we really let it be we can let it all be: the play of being, without a commentator, without a black box recording unit who thinks it can fly a plane.

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