Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tao Essence and the Zen Rot


It can't be touched, seen, tasted, smelled or heard. Not sensed one bit. It must be nonsense, make no sense, not sensible, or you're not sensitive to it.

It was what was when you were being a new born baby, when you were making no sense of the world. You were taught separation, gradually, taught to differentiate, name and categorize things, you were acted towards as if you were a thing with a name and in time you adopted the name and accepted your separation. By your adolescence, your sense of self was so concrete that you'd spend nine hours in ten dedicated to your sense of self, comparing it to others, adapting it, dressing it, wishing for it to get naked with and sense some carnal essence. The true self that was being the baby, was being the adolescent, had been ignored like the glass of a TV screen is missed when characters enthrall.

In later life, you saw the world in a new way, the seemingly concrete sense of self was seen to be just a sense and perhaps even nonsense. A wisdom was born that all was one and that this sense of separation was constructed, acts of this constructed self were more often seen as play acting, puppets on the stage, puppets who'd forgotten the same puppeteer had a hand in both.

In time, a seeking was undertaken to discover the lost self, but the methods and even the doer of the seeking were rooted in a world, that of concept, so traps lay at every turn. A simple truth emerged though, so clear, so obvious, so simple, this, is it. Sitting or walking one day, or in some other simple act, painting, gardening, washing potatoes, you were struck. Behind the watcher was an infinite oneness that did not judge, name, sense, rejoice or complain, it enveloped the totality. The being you were when you were a new born child.

In this complete emptiness you were present and whole, yet soon, natural habits began to whirl up from a lifetime of beliefs that only the learned program of 'me in the world' was real. A change had occurred though, the programmed self had met and been struck by a timeless self and the programmed self had a natural attitude to this, it wanted to be, have or use this new discovery to draw it from suffering.

It seemed now perhaps that these two selves were incompatible or living them was unhealthy, the new books you were drawn to spoke of the constructed self as negative and the true self to be something to be sought with all you could muster, in fact the wise on these subjects said there was nothing more important than the discovery of the true self. You thought it through, hadn't you rediscovered it by doing nothing though? Hadn't it just made itself apparent one day through no effort? Wasn't it already the case at birth? You saw this to be the case, oneness was the case, the problem then? Was the constructed self!

Now Zen sickness had set in its rot. You tried to remove you. This terrible joke had you in its grip. Stories of great blissful ones who had achieved this mighty feat of ridding themselves of the constructed self leaving them in everlasting bliss, fueled the very egoic self onwards in the task equivalent to a knife trying to cut itself out of existence. You'd been better off when you were unaware of the true self, you had the act well played, you were the best there'd ever been at playing you. You could not go back though, a window had opened and you could not live this side of it without its presence drawing you to the other side.

So far this story is, in a general case, the story of the common spiritual seeker. What follows is perhaps and hopefully what it takes to end the journey.

You can see both selves as you are the glass in the window, not a third self, but the non-self. You can look out into the projected and constructed world of the conceptual self in the world and you can look inward at the essence. No need to affirm or deny either, the magic is that you are infinite Tao and by way of infinity you can act a role where you are separate. To act the role convincingly and to provide infinity with a show of ceaseless wonder, you forget your true nature and you live out a role where you are not in control. Feel privileged that you can see both ways, enjoy what the show brings and live free of fear as you're, as you came to realize by peeling potatoes, infinite oneness. Tao.

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

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