"If you understand, things are just as they are...
If you do not understand, things are just as they are."
- Zen Saying
Here goes an extract from the Jeff Foster’s
new book 'The Wonder of Being' as well
some sand and some cats
from his may’s newsletter.
In_Joy and smile …
from Yourself to yourself
EXTRACT from 'The Wonder of Being'
'THE DIVINE PARADOX'
"I am not here."
That is a common pointer used in nonduality teachings. But what does it really mean?
Well, what do you see when you look over here, at what you call 'me'? You see a bag of flesh and bone which appears to move and act and speak in fairly predictable ways. You see this behaviour, and tell your story of Jeff Foster. That is your 'me'. That is me, to you.
But is there actually a 'me' over here to which you are referring? Is there a 'Jeff' in here that you are somehow recognising and putting a name to?
Over here, all I can find is an open space, filled with sights and sounds, smells, thoughts and feelings. But here's the great discovery - there is simply no 'me' to be found at the centre of it all, no 'me' in charge of things. There is nothing solid here, only an openness to the constantly shifting scenery of the world, and 'me' or 'I' or 'myself' is just a story appearing in this open space.
All I can find here, when I look afresh at life, is the rumble of traffic, the tweeting of birds, the beating of the heart, breathing happening, and the story of a person called Jeff Foster. And this story can be a wonderful story to tell, but it cannot even begin to capture what I really am.
Now, when you look over here at this bag of flesh and bone and its associated behaviours, and when you address it as 'Jeff', there is a response here, because that seems to be the appropriate thing to do. Not to respond would be socially unacceptable, and this bag of flesh and bone might then be cast into the loony bin, or at least heavily medicated.
Yet, one can't help wondering that perhaps it is dishonest to answer to a name, to identify who I am with who the world says I am. Because I certainly do not experience myself as a person, as an individual, as something separate from the world. No, if I am anything, I am this open space in which the whole world appears, and indeed I am not separate from the world which appears. If I am anything, I am what is happening, right here, right now, in this moment. If I am anything, I am this, this and this. That is the true meaning of nonduality. And it's what the Buddha meant when he said:
"Suffering alone exists, but none who suffer;
the deed there is, but no doer thereof;
Nirvana there is, but no one seeking it;
the Path there is, but none who travel it."
'Jeff' does not even begin to capture it. 'Jeff' is a relic from the past, part of a narrative that everybody seems to spin for themselves and by themselves. Indeed, there appears to be as many 'Jeffs' as there are people who know him!
This is not to deny that there is an idea here of a 'Jeff' floating about in awareness, as thought. But that is all there is, over here. There is no Jeff having thoughts of 'Jeff' - that's the illusion. There is only the thought of 'Jeff' here, only the narrative floating through.
It all happens for nobody, it all arises in this open space, in the vastness that holds everything, lovingly, unconditionally, in the clarity that allows everything to be. And there is simply no 'Jeff' outside of the vastness, which is to say, there is no 'Jeff' at all. I simply do not exist. 'I' am not here.
No self, no problem, as an old Zen monk once said.
And yet, and yet... to all intents and purposes, I do exist. In the eyes of the world, anyway, there most definitely is a Jeff Foster - he has a birth certificate and a National Insurance number and everything! To function in the world, a basic assumption seems to be necessary: that there is an individual here, a person. But it is an assumption, an idea, nothing more; it has no deeper reality.
With that realisation, the entire world self-liberates. Freed from the stranglehold of thought, freed from the burden of 'me and my problems', there is a great ease which permeates everything. Freed from goals and meanings, every moment is a goal in itself, everything is intrinsically meaningful, because every moment is all there is, or ever was. Set free from self-consciousness, anything is possible: there is no authority, there are no rules, and whatever happens just happens.
However, that doesn't mean you go round beating up old ladies. No, when it is seen that there is no separate self, it is also seen that there are no separate 'others' either. No others separate from yourself, at any rate. So this is the end of violence, the end of me-versus-you.
Beyond that me-versus-you illusion, there is such intimacy, such unconditional love and acceptance, that the idea of beating up old women, or anyone else for that matter, simply falls away. That old woman is myself, and I don't find myself beating her up. I find myself helping her across the road.
The paradox: there are no others, and yet there is such love for others, such spaciousness to allow them to be exactly as they are.
Beyond the sense of separation, there still may be pain, anger and sadness. Yet a funny thing happens: pain, anger and sadness are no longer owned by anyone. They are no longer claimed by a seeker hungry for an identity. We could say that they still happen, but because they now happen for nobody instead of somebody, they simply don't matter anymore (since there's nobody there to whom they could possibly matter!) There's pain, anger and sadness, but since there is nobody there at war with experience, these sensations just dissolve of their own accord, in their own time, as they always have done. There's pain, anger and sadness, but there's no problem whatsoever, and therefore no desire to be 'free from suffering'.
Everything being talked about here is already the case, for all of us, and yes, that includes you, of course.
Already, there is freedom. Already, there is nobody in control. Already, things simply arise of their own accord.
The heart beats, and you are not doing the beating.
Breathing happens, and you are not doing the breathing.
Sounds in the room happen, and you are not making them happen.
Pain arises, and you are not causing it. Joy happens, and you have no choice. The sun rises and sets, flowers grow, wither and die, seasons change in the blink of an eye, and you are not in charge of this astonishing dream world.
The play of opposites plays itself out, and there is an undetectable silence that continuously embraces it all, allowing everything to arise exactly as it does.
The entire world arises in this open space, in this vastness which is utterly free from separateness and solidity, but which embraces separateness and solidity the way a mother embraces her newborn baby.
The secret is there in your heart beating, in your breathing, in the sights and sounds and smells manifesting themselves exactly where you are, right now.
The secret is here. Do you see?
This cannot be understood intellectually. But somewhere beyond the words, there can be a resonance, a recognition, and that is the place to which these words are pointing right now, a place that has no location - which is to say, it is nowhere, and everywhere. It's there in your heartbeat. It's there in the breathing. It's there in the sensations in your body and the space around those sensations. It's there in your thoughts and the gaps between them, and in the sights and sounds and smells in the room.
Yes, all life asks of you is that you see it for what it is.
Amazing Sand Drawing
Have a wonder_Full day!
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