from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Zen, credo and nothingness

If I look at shaping features/values of my life, I'd come up with something like this:

  • I believe that the universe is a unified field
  • I believe in inclusivity
  • I believe that both/and is a more accurate perception of and relationship to the world than either/or
  • I believe that attachment to the dualistic either/or, on an individual level or globally (me/you, us/them), is single-handedly responsible for more aggression than anything else
  • I believe that interconnectedness is essential nature/reality; and that it also needs to be a felt experience in order for us to truly recognise the ultimate non-separation of self and other.

BUT what is a belief other than a deeply-held opinion, sometimes and sometimes not apparently borne out by experience?

Of what value is a belief - unless it helps one to live with more kindness, more compassion, more input into the collective project of evolution of consciousness?

And Zen would of course have one ask, in order to gain insight into the nature of ego: Who is it thinking 'I believe'?

For 35 years I've espoused a spiritual path that in essence is simple. Its aim is to lead one beyond the appearances of things, beyond attachment to things being permament, and beyond identification with ego as a substantial separate and all-determining entity. Its focus is the development of metta: loving kindess, or compassion. And it is so hard to live according to this. And if you read yesterday's blog you will know how much time I personally spend defending one view (one ego's view) of the universe against another. Either/or. Over and over the practice, of course, is to move beyond this; and of course one draws to oneself experiences and situations that will show exactly where life pinches, and test one's truths.

Eh bien.

As a reminder to self to cultivate the 'so what' of the attitude attuned to transience, here's a little Zen poem I share with you:


Nothing, nothing at all
is born,
dies, says the shell again
and again
from the depth of hollowness.
Its body
swept off by tide – so what?
It sleeps
in sand, drying in sunlight,
in moonlight. Nothing to do
with sea
or anything else. Over
and over
it vanishes with the wave.

Shinkichi Takahashi

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