Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On This Side of the Moon

Scott Bradley


This is a follow up on a previous post regarding the teaching of Tony Parsons. He makes the point that no process or path can achieve awareness of the reality that there is nothing to achieve. This is because there is no one to achieve it, and every attempt to do so simply re-enforces the delusion of self. This is also essentially the position of Zen. And, for what it's worth, I also (intellectually) agree.

The positive side of this understanding, experientially realized or not, is the simple fact that there is nothing to gain or lose. Yes, all is well.

This being the case, what are we left with? We have an intellectual understanding of how things stand, but we are unable to effect the transformation whereby it becomes our everyday reality. We cannot even attempt to make it so, for to do so, would be to move further from the reality, rather than closer. What are we to do?

My answer is that we should simply live. We must live the life that we have, as we have it. This refers back to what I call a philosophy of cope. If we understand that there is no-self and yet live in the cage of self we are able to at least bring that intellectual knowledge to bear upon our captive experience. If we understand that our bondage is of no great consequence, that bondage is in some sense mediated. If even this self-mess is Tao manifest, then the self-mess can understand itself in a new light. The point is personal liberation and there is liberation here.

But Tony would reply that there is no one to be liberated. I can only respond that I agree, but that I live on this side of the moon, in the world of self-delusion. What possible value could there be in denying my existential reality? The most effective way to do the work of transformation, it seems to me, is through an honest recognition of how and where I actually experientially am.

None of this implies a shirking of 'personal responsibility'. On the contrary, it is an utterly honest and effective way to assume that responsibility.

I do not say, God bless this mess, for the mess is already necessarily blessed. That, too, is the message of no-mess.

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

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