Thursday, April 11, 2013

Depending on Nothing IV

Scott Bradley


Zhuangzi asks, "What would it be like to depend on . . . nothing?"

There is transcendent freedom here. This is the point to which I've been trying to arrive in this series. There is something here to experience. Dare I say I've experienced it? Only I know that it has made me laugh in joyful freedom — if only for a moment.

Always I am suggesting the mystical experience, but I am loath to enunciate it.

When Zhuangzi answers his own question with, "Then our wandering would indeed be free and unfettered", I suspect it is because he experienced something of which he spoke. Maybe not. Maybe he was actually beating his wife and obsessing about his debts while engaging in some wishful thinking. No matter, the proof of every pudding is always and only in the tasting. And we do not follow authority, but our own experience. ("The Buddha said", "Zhuangzi said", these can be perilous doors to dependency.)

'Depend on nothing' is just another way of saying 'surrender in trust'. (Every theme, trope, 'virtue' is saying the same thing.) Let go into Mystery. Depend on nothing. Don't worry. Be happy.

The apparent similarity (identity?) between dependence and trust has not escaped my notice; as an advocate for surrender in trust, I have felt a certain unease with how that tallies with non-belief, non-hope, non-dependence. But we do not trust for or because. It is not about outcomes. First and foremost, we trust as a matter of course; this is what life is. Trust is affirmation. And it is also a kind of openness — an openness so open that it depends on no outcome; it depends on nothing.

It is our absolute dependence that makes possible our dependence on nothing. "Handing it all over to the unavoidable" is our freedom.

You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.

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