“We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand...
and melting like a snowflake.”

No Mind, True Heart

I've been experimenting in the last couple of years with visiting places like monasteries where it was possible to meet people interested in spirituality and also have a feeling for the spiritual practices and life styles carried out in such places. I came to the conclusion that reality might be a bigger mess or an infinitely trickier puzzle than what I thought it was. Maybe the problem was I started out with just that: thought and no experience. Maybe we can't really put a label/description or "is" into this stuff, or in any other stuff, because the truth might simply be: Chaos.

In most cases fortunately whatever we say think and write have almost absolutely no correspondence with reality, although it might make a lot of sense. On the other hand sometimes we might communicate something without any sense but it just might be a pretty good description of reality. This brief conglomeration of words is an attempt of communicating something that comes close to reality and at the same time hopefully makes sense. Enjoy!

Many times have I, and I guess most of you, spent my time arguing with a friend or family member about religion. So many times have I enthusiastically defended and expounded my preferred reality tunnel (Buddhism) against others, or what belief systems are the most absurd or sound, logic or superstitious, true or false, useful or useless and so on. But I now realise that in the end all this intellectualising, analysis and chatter becomes irrelevant, not much different from a baby bird's fart expelled in the middle of a raging tropical storm.

From the perspective of the person that is experiencing a particular reality tunnel, be it Zen or Christian or atheist or whatever, what matters is how much the person is connected to the Mystery inside her. And how much can that person sustain that connection and be that Mystery which knows no limits or conventions. Although in her Mind the person might think "I am a Christian" (because we all have Minds dependant on labels) in her Heart it doesn't matter because she opens herself to experience, diversity and learning. In other words, it doesn't matter what we believe or what we define ourselves to be, if we're coming from a place deep within, from a place with Heart and Soul, we can believe anything, or nothing, or everything (or almost...).

Actually you can even have Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, atheists, Jews and Aliens, all together at the same table. If they're connected to that Mystery within, you'll see them sharing a nice meal, having a few laughs and exchanging a few hugs in the end. So it's about how we are as persons and not what we believe.

I'm more in tune with Buddhism, but it really doesn't matter and even Buddhism in the end becomes a barrier if you hold on to it. There's actually a very good Buddhist teaching talking precisely about this point.
"A man is trapped on one side of a fast-flowing river. Where he stands, there is great danger and uncertainty – but on the far side of the river, there is safety.
Yet there is no bridge or ferry for crossing. So the man gathers logs, leaves and vines and is able to fashion together a raft, sturdy enough to carry him. By lying on the raft and using his arms to paddle, he crosses the river to safety.
The Buddha then asks the listeners a question: What would you think if the man, having crossed over the river, then said to himself, ‘Oh, this raft has served me so well, I should strap it on to my back and carry it over land now’?
The monks replied that it would not be very sensible to cling to the raft in such a way.
The Buddha continues: What if he lay the raft down gratefully, thinking that this raft has served him well, but is no longer of use and can thus be laid down upon the shore?
The monks replied that this would be the proper attitude.
The Buddha concluded by saying, ‘So it is with my teachings, which are like a raft, and are for crossing over with — not for seizing hold of.’"
I've met people from other faiths and I feel that what really stands out, what matters, what makes an impression, the real religion if I can say so, is the capacity the person has to listen, to be with the other without judging or condemning or searching for something wrong in us. It's the capacity to be that Mystery, that humanity, that openness and kindness that really matters. And this qualities can only be brought forward or be made manifest when one let's go of his reality tunnel or belief system. In other words when one keeps his Mind empty, silent, and his Heart open. Now is this a religion? A theory? A philosophy? No. It's simply an invisible and motionless act of kindness. It's something we could all do provided the chance and the conditions to develop this ability.

This world and we humans along with it are so much buried deep in shit that it becomes pretty easy to always search and point out the dark stuff in each of us: the contradictions, the shortcomings, the weaknesses, and so on. Much more difficult but beneficial is to shut up and listen, pay attention, and then search for the little good people have inside and strengthen that, allow that to come forward. If that little Light could be brought forward, sustained and fed, darkness and ignorance would naturally fade out. We're lit candles in the middle of a storm, we should help each other in keeping our flame alive and not fight for molten wax and dust.

So this openness and kindness are the true state of enlightenment. But is it that special? Hell no! My mother is enlightened! Ok maybe I'm exaggerating here but... My cats were too! Maybe one of my neighbours is... You can find them in all walks of life, doesn't matter what they are, where they are, what they do. It's the simple folks that know it without knowing it. I've met some buddhist monks, nuns, teachers, meditators and so on in my recent travels, and believe me some of them were very unenlightened and intolerant.

But the world of appearance, labels and externals will always deceive us concerning this matters. There's no right map to guide us on this journey. No right "isms". The good news is we've all been born with the best navigation tool in the whole Universe: our Soul and Heart. You can only really trust that, and those whom have proven to be trustworthy shipmates and be there for those who you love the most. No labels are required for this, no words, no thinking. You just feel it and do it.

So what we have is a kind of grid created by the human mind, made up of belief systems or memes (major super-illusion, some call it matrix), superimposed in a much more relevant reality: our humanity. In this sense religion and spirituality are still part of the illusion. And that's why I mentioned Chaos, because there is no real correspondence between this grid: our preconceived ideas, expectations, generalisations, beliefs, conditioning, intelligence and what's going on inside people's Hearts. This becomes even more evident in spirituality.

But this doesn't mean that it's wrong or useless to check out spirituality, or even to engage in it, not at all. Just saying there's no right path, no absolutes. We just need to figure out what works best for us individually.

In conclusion this type of openness and seeing, this humanity, this tolerance belongs to that Mystery within. Mind will never understand it. No belief system, discussion, argument, philosophy will ever figure it out. Because these are dependant on definition, appearance, word, the finite, form. The Mind can't reach the place that really matters: the subjective experience of the individual and it's relation to the Great Mystery within. There will always be confusion, there will always be struggle when we focus on Mind, labels, thinking and externals.

We must let go of Mind. Or in other words, use the Mind not let the Mind use us. Mind divides, complicates, analyses, compares, perfects. The Soul, that Great Mystery, simplifies, understands, accepts, harmonises, intuits.

The only alternative available for us is to find this Great Mystery within ourselves, taste it, and be it.

1 comment:

Brizdaz (Darren) said...

My blogging friend Raj has been making a series of clips along the same lines as this post -



And if I had to pick a religion it would be Buddhism,too...but I don't have to.-)