Friday, July 19, 2013

All Things Are One III: Free to Enjoy

Scott Bradley

Looked at from the point of view of their differences, even your own liver and gallbladder are as distant as Chu in the south and Yue in the north. But looked at from the point of view of their sameness, all things are one. If you take the latter view, you become free of all preconceptions about which particular objects might suit the eyes and ears.
(Zhuangzi 55:5-6; Ziporyn)
Among the consequences of the psychological attainment of an understanding of the oneness of all things is to “become free”. Free of what? Free of your happiness being dependent upon a perception of things in which they are either right or wrong, affirmable or unaffirmable, harmful or beneficial. In the case of the latter, it is easy to see how, if one’s happiness required that events be ‘beneficial’, then that happiness would never be fully realized even when one’s circumstances were so deemed; for by virtue of that dependency we would forever dwell on the cusp of contingency, ever aware that things will certainly eventually take a negative turn. There would be something to lose, something about which to entertain fear. Such is life.

If, on the other hand, we have realized the equanimity that pertains to all manifestations of reality, if we have understood their sameness, then we would be so released from contingent dependency as to be able all enjoy things fully, and even more so in those things which we do find especially pleasing. For though we admire the rocks in their unconscious equanimity, we are after all human and are blessed to find pleasure in some things more than others. The point of our freedom is not make no discriminations at all, but to be able make them without being dependent upon them.

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

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