Saturday, November 2, 2013

Shenzi VI

Scott Bradley

They began by equalizing all things . . .
(Zhuangzi 33; Ziporyn)
If we conclude that equalizing all things is a psychological activity, it still remains to be understood what this really entails. The title of the second chapter of the Zhuangzi, Qiwulun, can be translated as "equalizing our assessments about things". In other words, it is coming to understand that all our judgments about things are based on our unique perspective and thus all views are, from a wider view, equal. This results in an openness toward all points of view, but does not necessitate the abandonment of our own point of view.

"Things" (wu), Ziporyn points out, means a great deal more than simply inanimate objects; it includes all beings and, perhaps most importantly, all our responses to the world as we experience it. It thus means that we equalize "benefit and harm"; we may seek what we think to be the former and avoid the latter, but we are also able to equalize them in terms of our responses to them. Equalizing in this sense is the freedom realized in an equaniminous mind. Nothing can "enter our Numinous Reservoir" so as to disturb us, because we depend on no outcome, whether thought to be beneficial or harmful, for our inner peace. We equalize "good and evil" not because we negate their validity, but because we have a point of view from which we realize that they cannot effect ultimate outcomes. Evil may kill me, but death and life are a single thread, so what is ultimately lost?

The reader may have noticed that I said that equalizing things implies equalizing our responses to things, yet I have prescribed a certain kind of response, equanimity. So, let us equalize equanimity and non-equanimity; let us equalize how we would like to be and how we actually are. Let us realize that the equalization of all things means that there are no conditions which have to be met for us to be absolutely affirmable just as we are. There is nothing we need become, however messed-up we may think ourselves to be. Equalizing things means everything, right now, just as they are.

Equalize it, mon!

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

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