How I found the inner Zen teacher:
I once experienced a profound loss in my life.
There was a tremendous pain obscuring my perception.
Having gone through this pain before, I realized a pattern.
I understood the pattern needed to be broken.
The pain hindered any deeper connection or spiritual experience, which made me resent it even more.
I started doing something, which at first I did not understood.
There was a graveyard close to my apartment. I kept walking on it, watching the names on the grave stones and started sitting there on a bench almost every day.
I kept trying to figure out how to resolve the pain. I tried to analyze it, contemplate about it, reflect on it.
One day, sitting on a bench, I felt as desperate as ever. The pain became so overwhelming that I thought: “I am so tired of fighting this pain, I don’t want to fight it anymore.”
Something in me surrendered. All resistance in me vanished.
Suddenly, my mind was empty, void of thought and pain.
Once I gave up resistance all illusion and the past vanished.
Attachment was leaving me.
The Now entered my life.
I could hear the birds sing, the trees whispering in the wind, and see the ants crawling between the gaps in the stones. I was IT all.
Later I understood:
Sitting on the graveyard, I was practicing to die.
In truth, it was not me who was dying, but my ego.
While the ego vanished, I discovered self:
From that moment on self began teaching, these are ITs teachings:
What is Zen?
Zen is not a religion or belief system, it is a practice.
Zen does not tell you what reality is, if we speak about Zen experience, we speak about what reality is not.
If we speak about what it is not, others might be able to abandon their beliefs.
Without a belief, there are no filters, without a filter one can see the one reality.
The one reality cannot be known, only experienced.
The sound a stone makes, when it falls on a surface is reality, your opinion of it, is not.
I once had a client who was terrified of choices.
Every time when I was about to weaken one of her arguments, she switched topics and found another reason to be unhappy.
Everything needed to be controlled, everything owned. The illusion of a constant in the universe needed to be created, it should offer youth, immortality and cheat death.
She felt she was drowning in lost opportunities, terrified of making a choice because she could lose something else. She was scared of aging, losing her beauty, thought her chance at being loved would decrease by the day.
For a moment, my mind considered giving up (my mind being the ego). Instead, I became curious and listened closer.
I grabbed a stone from the small table between us and said: “Grab it.”
She grabbed it, while she kept on reasoning.
Something said through me: “Throw the stone into the room.”
She looked at me puzzled, smiling unsure, then she threw it.
She kept talking.
I gave her the spoon from my coffee cup.
She threw it with less hesitation than before.
Then she kept on talking.
I grabbed her spoon and gave it to her and said
She threw it.
“See,” I said:”was it that hard?”
That’s when the universe started laughing.
Often, when people say, that they want freedom, they are deceiving themselves. What they actually want is freedom from pain.
True freedom means responsibility. When you are conscious you will realize, that there are infinite ways to bring meaning into this world. This world will ask you, and the response you feel deep down, creates an impulse to act.
You will fear to act on it because it will go against what the social conditioning in you, camouflaged as the rational mind, believes to know.
To fight this impulse, to resist it, means to suffer.
As if you are a wave in an ocean, trying to be a brick house instead.
The same goes for the question, what kind of relationships people want? They will say: “I want trust”.
But they are deceiving themselves as well.
What they truly want is predictability, the illusion of being able to own love, to have an infinite source of gratification, to be able to create a reunification between their being and the universe.
But the wave cannot help it, it cannot own the ocean. And wouldn’t that be boring? Instead it is already one with it.
It just forgot.
As a spiritual teacher, cloaked in the form of a therapist, I encountered a young man whose parents met a violent death.
He asked for the why of existence, since all comes to an end inevitably, why be?
If the universe allows us to ask this question, then we have created meaning.
Every question gives birth to an answer.
While in therapy we play with the possibilities of life and entertain certain answers, the young man saves himself in the process.
Picturing myself in the seat in front of me, wishing one would have helped me play with life when I was younger, I realize:
I am him and I just saved myself. I will meet myself in many forms, since I am the universe conscious of itself.
4.* Can be found on page 26
The tunnel that your mind creates is an illusion.
It wants you to go into a direction that leads to suffering, so it can create an identity from pain, which keeps its sense of ego alive.
It will provide short term solutions like sex, drugs and consumerism. There is nothing wrong with sex, drugs and having fun, but your ego is addicted to it.
After a high there is usually a low and the circle continues. In the world of form – as in four dimensional space – nothing lasts. Being too attached to anything on the level of form, will result in loss that the ego identifies with and uses to create its story from.
Neither the ego, nor the past are real.
In this present moment, as you breath in, right now, there is no past, no identity and therefore no ego.
If you notice your thoughts judging people, objects, situations, the world, they can only do it from past experiences.
Therefore the thoughts will lead to behavior that will recreate the past, generating proof, that you have a reason to be unhappy, unaware and not responsible.
When you are thoughtless, you see the world unfiltered. In the emptiness of non-thinking, there is true creativity to be found.
You might notice a deeper intelligence at work, than the one of concept (language). This intelligence provides you with a continuous feeling of connection, lessening the need for external addiction.
When you find that out, you will notice that instead of being reactive from your past conditioning, you will act in a matter that does not create new suffering.
First step to realizing this is to dis-identify with your thoughts, in short: You are not the thinker.
If your goal is to understand the universe, you need to have no goal, for when you seek in the dark with a flash light you only see the obvious in the light.
Not using a flash light, your eyes will adjust and you might take in the full picture, and be overwhelmed by the amazing detail of this world.
In fact: Instead of moving in any direction. You could become a master at sitting, listening, breathing, seeking to attain nothing.
When you are there, in reality, the here and now, creating no resistance to the present moment, the universe will occasionally teach you, smiling through you.
Understanding the nature of things is understanding nothingness. If you are too distracted by objects around you, you may not notice the most fundamental observation.
Objects are nothing without the nothing, the emptiness of space between them. A room would not be a room if it would not contain spaces of nothing.
Everything comes from nothing. Your thoughts, the words in your head, are interrupted by spaces that you usually would not notice, if you are focused too much on the words themselves.
As humans more often than not we are occupied by something, focused on something, obsessed with the something. This is the great illusion.
Between noises, there is silence, between objects there is space, between thoughts there is stillness.
If you want something to be born:
Whether it is art, science, writing or love.
It will need space to exist.
One day, when you look back after all the noise, the forms you went through, the challenges you took on in life, to grow to a better understanding of the universe, you might ask yourself who you have become.
A knowledge beyond words and thought, deep down is going to smile back and answer: The one you have always been.
All beliefs are false.
Everything matters, nothing is serious.
Opinion is the absence of knowing.
Don’t be serious, the universe is not.
Being human is pretending to not be the universe.
Enlightenment eludes you, if you perceive it as magic. You already know how to breathe, this is magical indeed.
How to be present:
When the colors are bright, the details are plentiful, then you are there.
When the wind blows over a field of grass and you see all blades move at the same time, then you are there.
When you slow your movement down, you are not acting from conditioning.
Everything that you have done ten thousand times has a certain speed.
So, slow it down to not use your programming, do it manually, like you do it for the first time, then you are there.
When you observe your breathing without having to control or having an opinion of it, then you are there.
When you walk and feel the touching and rolling of your heels on contact with a surface in every step, then you are there.
The acceptance of death as part of your experience is a gate opener to consciousness. I encourage you, to learn about the nature of death.
The one part in you that fears death is the concept of ego. When you were a child, you were given a name. During your upbringing all kinds of opinions have been attached to your name like: ‘He is good at math, but bad at sports’, ‘she is creative, but lacks an understanding of logic’ or the other way around.
If you listen to these opinions at a young age long enough, you will unconsciously create identity from them.
They will remain as thoughts in your head, judging everything you do, everything you say and form the illusion of ego.
Ego is nothing more than a social convention, that says: ‘He or she is supposed to be or behave a certain way.’
Inherent in ego is a deep feeling of lack since you can never be a concept that is attached to you. No concept can represent, who you truly are.
It is as if we reduce a flowing, always adapting, life-giving presence to the label of ‘water’. This does not cut it, since water is not supposed to be cut in pieces, neither are you. As if the nature of the ocean would be graspable by trying to chop it into cubes.
Labeling is all about reducing the nature of phenomena, so we can put them in neatly categories to create an illusion of having understood them and being in control.
This is what your teachers or parents might have tried with you. Their egos tried to control you since there is a deep fear of the infinity in you, which you are connected with as a child, that they have forgotten about, because they got raised by egos too.
But you are not a category and you are not your ego.
That’s why learning to die is of the essence if you want to learn how to live.
Die a bit every day.
If you see a beautiful person on the tram or bus and start fantasizing about the possibilities of being with this person, creating the idea of salvation, then it is an illusion of the ego.
You are complete. There is no lack.
You might project all the wishes or needs of the ego onto another person in order to be liberated by him or her.
But this is like a firefighter setting fires to provide the solution. It will only lead to the sustenance of ego.
Therefore, when this person leaves the tram or bus at the next stop, you might feel a slight pain. It is the feeling of loss and ultimately a tiny death.
Don’t resist it, look at it deeply, have no opinion of it.
If you look deep enough, the illusion, that is projection, subsides and you might find stillness.
By dying a tiny death, you might have a look at the ocean within you, that has always been there. You just have been too noisy to listen to it before.
If you have children one day, you might not sever that connection by not teaching them how they are ‘supposed to be’. Thus the circle of conditioning will be broken.
Ultimately, only ego dies.
The source of frustration in life is to be found in the confusion of form with reality.
As your brain is trained to establish facts about the material world, it becomes too occupied examining the package without ever opening it and finding out there is a gift wrapped inside of it.
It is as if you were watching a theater piece and believe reality is limited to what is presented to you on stage, disregarding all the workings behind the scenes.
As such, life is a stage.
The limitations you perceive on the plane of form or material are the gift wraps, which you are unable to unpack for one reason: You are convinced this is all there is.
In a way you are right, this is all that exists on the stage. As long as you see it as such, it cannot be anything else.
A theater piece is drama, providing a false sense of aliveness.
I am not saying that you should exchange facts for beliefs.
All beliefs are also illusions, another form of limitation. Beliefs are motivated by the ego, that needs to construct a world from which it can create identity.
The ego will take anything as proof that will support its beliefs, therefore distorting the perception of this world.
Beliefs tend to break apart sooner or later, as they are a denial of reality. This means beliefs will set you up for suffering.
To not fall into this trap you can become ‘Knowing’.
You cannot attain true knowledge, because for that you would need a subject, which is your ego, to own an object, which would be knowledge.
Ego takes a limited perspective. It divides the world into what appears useful or threatening towards itself. It wants to own the un-ownnable and the divide the in-dividable.
When you sit in deep meditation, without resistance to the present moment – therefore thoughtless – there is no separation between you and the world. You are the world.
That is when ‘knowing’ comes into being.
‘Knowing’ is beyond opinion, boundless and infinite.
Expectation is projection of the ego.
It points to a future that could either be pleasure providing or a threat.
Pleasure has to be owned, a threat has to be dealt with.
This will invoke thought processes providing ‘solutions’ for the ‘issues’.
The point of these processes is not to find a solution, they are mainly there to distract you from the present moment.
In the present moment, there are no problems.
Problems need psychological time to exist, as in the concepts of past and future.
The now, as the only reality there is, does not need improving. It is whole.
This makes ego pointless.
It does not want you to find that out.
When you are in pain, embrace it.
When you are bored, get curious.
When you are scared of something, go there.
When you feel lonely, become friends with the self.
When you are lost, keep exploring.
To the ego these experiences are threats. When you look deeper, these are your teachers.
They are signs on the road that point to:
Freedom, consciousness & enlightenment.
Ego has painted these signs over and wrote on them:
Responsibility, existential dread & death.
When you follow these signs, not resisting the experience, there is peace.
The main cause of struggle in human experience is the illusion that existence is a problem you have to solve.
I once asked a person from the Japanese culture, with whom I was close.
“Do you ever worry?”
“No, when I clean, I clean. When I cook, I cook. When I sing, I sing.”
At the time I did not recognize the deep wisdom hidden in these words.
The natural state of consciousness is laughter, when you laugh, consciousness is born.
Most people in the western world are concerned that the end of thought brings them death. As long as we are addicted to obsessive thinking to create an illusion of control over this world, we will not find out, that the one who gives up ego gains the universe.
It seems ironic, that what usually does not lead to religious experience is religion, but the abandonment of all beliefs.
When the mind is then empty of all preconceptions, it is ready to take in what is.
The one dies into the many, the many die into the one.
There is no knowledge, only perspectives.
All concepts are ultimately futile.
The one reality is not graspable, giving up grasping is awakening.
There are no dualities, everything exists in infinite flux.
The world contains everything, therefore there are no things, there is just the world.
The level of form, as in matter, is imperfect, since only imperfection can lead to existence.
The big bang: A perfect singularity, undivided, oneness, dying into existence to become the many forms.
Asking for the purpose of life is like asking: “Why do I breathe?” There is no why, breathing is purpose.
The only way to form a world-view is through discrimination.
Realizing there is nothing to improve, is improvement.
If you want to be enlightened, stop trying.
If someone had never swum in a lake and if you tried to describe the experience to this person, words would ultimately fail to convey the entirety of the whole sensation.
The complexity of floating in water, interacting with it, feeling it, is beyond words.
The most useful action, you could take, would be to point towards the lake.
So this person can find it, and directly experience it for themself.
As such, as a spiritual teacher, I cannot convey the experience of liberation. It is impossible to give accurate accounts of how to dive into the flow of the universe.
It is only possible to point you to it. This is the appropriate action to take.
If you would have eternity to come to a deeper understanding, would you have problems?
The bench, on which the universe sits
footsteps in the graveyard,
it is all me, it is all one.
Thoughts, feelings and images,
are leaves falling,
are rain dropping,
are footsteps in the graveyard.
The ocean is not bothered by waves, it delights in the dance.
If we are overly obsessed with wanting to be in a love relationship, it is a result of the idea of being alone. If the idea is perceived as real, the desire is born.
Most do not fall in love, because they love.
Many desires point to an unconscious idea of in-completion or lack.
Fulfilling the desire, is fulfilling a concept that is not real.
Change, if perceived as “losing” access to the concept, is suffering, since it is losing something that was never real to begin with.
All concepts are empty, void. When this is experienced, the mind is liberated, while simultaneously being full with the experience of being, which is bliss.
This is the end of karma.
There was never karma to begin with. As there was never a never, since there is no time, only now.
As Buddhism states: All phenomena are empty. This means, all ideas, all concepts of the world are not the world.
They contain nothing. The most marvelous nothing, the non-duality, is therefore contained, as long as we believe concepts to be full.
We only suffer from karma, action that requires further action, as long as we uphold the illusion of it. As long as we believe, that we need to be liberated from something, we remain trapped.
We cannot be liberated from something, that is not real. There are not even somethings, there are no things.
This makes the concept of liberation equally not real.
Nirvana, ‘the blowing out of the candle’, the end of non-stop circular thought, is realizing that we were never trapped to begin with.
Therefore Nirvana is realization of what is.
Therefore Nirvana is.
Existence through emptiness.
Emptiness in Zen is not nihilism.
Emptiness is realization of the futility of concepts, therefore leaving the mind “empty”, leaving the finite, limited perception, while simultaneously realizing the infinite, giving it space to enter.
Nirvana is realization.
Forget this immediately!
So you do not create a concept of liberation!
Which is creating the illusion of karma again!
Liberation is unconditioned existence. This means: Unconditional existence, there is no condition to fulfill, no ‘have to’, no ‘must’, no ‘should’, which allows you to exist.
Equally, one cannot call themself a Buddhist, as well as one cannot call themself liberated.
Liberation postulates a trap or prison.
The idea or concept of liberation creates the illusion of a trap in the mind.
One who is enlightened realizes existence is non-dual.
I once had a conversation with a woman I met by chance in a book store. I found out that she had been to Japan and visited a Zen monastery, which let to a dialog about Zen practices.
The most curious of all exchanges happened, when we were about to say good bye.
She told me: “Usually, I would wish you luck, but it is rather pointless to wish luck to a Zen practitioner.”
I smiled and replied: “This is deep insight, right there.”
Hectic is only perceived. The moment is limitless.
The silence of the night
a woman singing in Japanese
Nothing needs changing
A sudden awakening, Satori, a glimpse at enlightenment, can be felt as realizing one has seen the world through a deep fog. Spontaneously, with no cause to be grasped, sunlight breaks through and the fog vanishes.
If one would like to make this experience permanent, one cannot do that, because the wish to do so is a thought.
Thoughts are the fog.
For true realization, a deep understanding is needed, that there never was fog to begin with.
The key to this is realization through meditation. So one ‘forgets’ about oneself and spontaneity arises as the one happening which is the eternal now.
In silence, the universe is the loudest.
When people speak about happiness, they often say, the key to it is the appreciation of little things.
I would rather say: It is the realization those things are not little, they are the universe in its full glory.
Self-sacrifice is not a way to liberate oneself from ego. Actually it makes it stronger, for every attempt of getting rid of it, is ego.
Instead, a deep involvement in the present experience leads to a forgetfulness, forgetting all the illusions of the mind.
The purpose of Zazen, sitting meditation, is to forget the I and to discover self.
In it you will find the universe.
If you imagine the whole world disappearing, all objects fading into nothingness, your body disappearing, what is left is who you are.
It is always the right time, it is always now.
No ego, no offense.
What is the greatest teaching of Zen?
Not to be at odds with the human experience.
There is nothing special about teaching Zen. The Zen mind occupies itself with the ordinary human experience. Only, that nothing about the human experience is actually ordinary.
Resistance in life is there, so you can learn not to resist. That is what a crisis is for, a realization of consciousness. It shows the futility of holding on, this is an opportunity to practice letting go.
Sometimes in the human experience, there is a wish someone would say:
‘It is alright.’
Just listen, the silence, there it is.
Morals can never be universal, only contextual.
People are potentially good, if being good is optional. When being ‘good’ is a dogma which you have to fulfill, you equally give rise to, what from a limited perspective, we might perceive as evil.
No true action can be forced action.
Any dogma enforced by society gives limits to our response as the spontaneity of the world happens.
Any thinking that there needs to be a response to the event called universe is already flawed.
‘Needed action’ is forced action as a result of the dogma becoming our conditioning.
It results in more suffering, than any ‘bad behavior’ could.
There is nothing holy about the idea of a holy man. The idealized idea of someone beyond human faults is opposed to anything that could be holy.
A person who has had genuine insight into the human experience, does understand, the one who denies the misery, the ugly, the contradictions cannot be holy at all, for he is unable to integrate natural parts of human experience into his being.
The wholeness of the experience cannot be divided and if we should try that, we would have the experience of a neurotic person who has an ideal concept of himself in his mind that he tries to complete, while denying anything naturally instinctive in human behavior. That is like being split in two.
The neurotic or suppressed human gives more power to their perceived ‘faults’ by denying them, than a man who can completely accept his being with its urges and desires.
That is why the supposedly most ‘holy’ people are the most vicious, since their urges and desires take over, once they reach a critical point of suppression, which leads to them boiling over in an extreme fashion.
On a deeper level of experiencing one might find out, that the misery and the ugly are not enemies or demons but the other side of glory or glory itself, which is camouflaged in, what only in a shallow observation, could be seen as contradiction.
Once we do not divide the human experience into a desirable and non-desirable experience anymore, that is when we are able to see the deep intertwined connections of all human experience, and only then, we might realize it as a holy experience.
At that point of being, having one or two ‘bad’ habits just shows the human in his completion.
It is quite astonishing once one has made the “no mind” experience, may be even without having heard about Zen before, so just by circumstance one has a glimpse at an enlightened state, then we find out, that there is no specific form or school needed to be in this state.
We are not dependent on eastern culture to teach us the middle way, for we all have it.
Once accessed, it is like a frequency that can be tuned in on a radio.
There is not necessarily a proper way to sit in meditation or Zazen, once meditation is understood through experience, everything becomes meditation and does not need to have a form, school or tradition behind it.
Having a “proper” way of doing meditation can inhibit it. For proper ways are mostly rigid and rarely natural. Nature is fluid, while meditation is drifting with its flow, not resisting the current through unnecessary thoughts.
Asking for the meaning of life, while you are walking barefoot on a sandy beach is besides the point. Life is self evident it does not require meaning beyond itself.
Life is the direct experience of sand between the toes, sun on the skin and wind in the face. Nothing needs to be added to that experience.
When we stop looking for the complete moment, we realize every moment is complete. In fact only one moment exists in infinity.
This makes looking for a point pointless, life does not require one.
The worship of a god outside of this reality is a dualism. In our minds the identification with thought creates ego, and ego becomes the divider of the world.
For the Ego’s god to exist, the ego needs to create contrasts and opposites, good & evil, right & wrong so it can make sense of the world.
To see godhood outside of us, is the seeking of an authoritarian loving father or mother, since our Ego wants to deny our own powerful being. And we are compelled by it.
Having outgrown our parents, what else is there to hold on to?
So the external god is created purely to sustain the egoic wish for shelter and guidance, while the own divine source of consciousness, deep with in us, is covered up by games of arbitrary rituals, illusions and beliefs.
The religious man confuses these beliefs and illusions for god, when a wise man shows their futility the religious man is terrified and sees a heretic in him.
The heretic has found his unity with consciousness, the space that gives form room to exist and life the potential to happen, he can hear the silence, feel the emptiness, knowing that this void is him, everyone and everything else.
Enlightenment is inevitable.
Ask yourself: Would you still exist without your problems?
If so, why have them?
Further ask yourself: What in you needs problems to exist?
Human experience is from a limited perspective limited.
Having an ego means to limit oneself, for it to exist, it needs the illusion of boundaries.
So it will say: “No, I do not accept this experience.” or “I cannot do this.”
Because if you would, the false sense of self would dissolve into an ocean of awareness.
You are the ocean, not the waves.
If there is a storm in your mind, consisting of thoughts, images and emotions, which soak in all your attention, you might forget about this truth.
No matter the turbulence, deep down the ocean is calm, it is the source of consciousness.
In an ever changing reality, this is the only constant.
Only if the ocean believes to be limited to waves, suffering exists.
Life is not about getting the experience you want, it is about getting the experience you need.
Unconsciously, you will create the reality you live in, through the programming, which has been socially engineered into you by your society.
This programming leads to your behavior, which will lead to responses from your surroundings.
If you detach yourself from these responses and feel like a victim to the world, this is not the truth.
Your beliefs, concepts, attachments, distorted sense of self, will be mirrored by the world and knock on your window until you wake up and get out of bed, which symbolizes a manufactured perception of reality. The world is not outside of you, it is inside of you as well.
You are supposed to be frustrated.
While it seems unfair, unjust, there is mercy in it.
Life takes identification points for a false sense of self away.
Every crisis is a gate opener to a deeper reality, if you do not the resist the experience and remain curious.
The objects, jobs, hierarchies, clothes you wear, relationships, even your age or appearance are not you.
So life takes these things away. As long as you believe these things to be you, what your programming convinces you of, there is suffering.
When you find out, that underneath, covered up through all the noise that the programming creates, is a source of awareness that transcends all these experiences, then you are waking up.
You are not your name and the opinions attached to it, you are the laughing god behind the masks.
The fear of death is closely connected to the ego illusion. The more you are identified with your name and the opinions attached to it, the objects you attained in life, achievements and behavioral patterns you show, the more you will fear death and the more you will act from a basic dualism that separates the world into threatening or pleasure providing.
This perception causes much harm for it cannot see the world as it is, it can only see its usefulness or danger to the ego.
People become tools to gain advantages and are not seen in their complexity.
Spontaneity ceases to exist, for whatever is there is not allowed to be, except if it leads to a result the ego approves of.
Such filtering of reality leads to a strong reductionism, so that people who are strongly ego identified live in constant dread towards a world that, which from their view, tries to take things away from them.
This primordial fear shuts the full frequency of life out, for anything that is not initially pleasure providing slips by unnoticed and so does the experience of consciousness.
Be friends with death, so life can enter.
As long as fear rules your perception, the ultimate reality cannot be recognized as presence in your life.
It is like flying a plane on radar alone, never looking out the window, not noticing the clouds, the lights reflecting of those and the blue sky.
In truth, only one mind exists. Only Buddha nature is real.
Death is nothing special, contemplate about that.
It is not about being able to handle the truth.
Nothing needs handling, just awareness.
When in meditation: Stop starring at the universe!
She is a shy lady, she will not undress and reveal her secrets, when you glare!
You don’t get to the act without detaching yourself from the outcome.
So, accept whatever occurs and respect the experience!
Once on magic mushrooms I communicated with my consciousness and asked: Where is the light of the Buddha? Show me the Buddha!
After asking this question several times all hallucinations vanished and just one single point of awareness was left. The empty mind somewhere located in my body, while simultaneously being everywhere.
I fell back into hallucinations and asked again. Several times my consciousness pointed me to that single point of awareness.
Any experience I make in this life is being painted on this point of awareness. And only IT is real.
Every time we look for the light, the Buddha, the god, we will be thrown back to our own awareness. We are IT in disguise. We are dreaming this life.
We are not humans, we are the space in which human experience happens. This space is consciousness. The whole world is painted on it, but it is not the painting. When you sit quietly in a room and meditate, you might feel the presence of space in the room, then you remember.
Human consciousness is like a canvas.
Any image can be painted on it. The colors show patterns, which we attach to.
If we do this too vividly, we will suffer, for the patterns are always changing.
There is no continuous image that is us, that we could hold on to.
On a deeper level, we do understand, we are not the pattern to begin with, we are the canvas, which gives every pattern space to be.
This is cosmic consciousness.
This is Buddha nature.
The canvas has no bias towards any pattern, it embraces them all.
It is the space that has all the Galaxies and their stars as content of its vastness.
None of the patterns are real, for they are all impermanent. As long as you think you are the pattern and as long as you desire patterns, you will be reborn.
Only the canvas is permanent, it is the mind in which all illusions are allowed to happen, for the mind dreams them all.
All desire leads to birth.
You are not you, you are the space in which “you” happens.
Eternal consciousness cannot know its radiance and never dying infinity without having experienced phases of ignorance, dark contents of the mind and the death of impermanent bodies.
As such, it decided to be born, so it could experience itself in the contrasts, embracing it all.
The acceptance of change opens a door to the discovery of the unchanging mind.
All experience is an illusion. Only the experiencer is real.
You are not your emotions, fantasies and thoughts.
You are the sky, not the clouds.
You are the ocean, not the waves.
Even without clouds, the sky remains.
Even without waves, the ocean exists in stillness.
All suffering is caused by the illusion of disconnection. We are in fact profoundly connected, only the identification with thoughts can distract us from reality.
Realize the observer in the gaps between the words.
With Zen practice the gaps will become wider. The wider the gaps, the more of reality enters, the more you discover self.
Your memories, your story is not the self. It is a constructed idea of who you are, which has sucked in all your attention.
In truth the gaps between the words are the spaciousness of consciousness.
Inside consciousness thoughts are merely content, they are an experience arising into space and fading out of space.
Only the space is self.
Spirituality is the archeology of mind, all the sand, the filling material, is removed with skillful means (Upaya in Buddhism), so only self remains after a successful excavation.
All identification with the filling material: Emotions, thoughts, imagination, this life, the belief of being just an impermanent brain in a body and the story of the ego, is broken, since they stand in contrast to the permanent self and are the content of its dream.
A state of enlightenment cannot be reached from a strong drive to be relieved from suffering, but from a deep curiosity that does not discriminate towards the experiences made.
Nothing is of ultimate, but relative consequence. Anything we do cannot impact our timeless being. It can only impact our relative experience by prolonging it in the dimension of time.
Humans often believe that they lose things. In truth, nothing can be ever owned to begin with, such is the impermanent nature of the world.
I do not teach to be confident, building up confidence is building up the ego. Confidence can be gained and lost, as such it is impermanent. I rather teach to be rooted in being, since being gives access to self which is untouched by any event.
I once met a man who told me he was already depressed for thirty years.
I replied: “Does that not get boring?”
If you experience yourself being trapped in thought, enter meditation by shifting awareness to your breathing. Any sentence, any thought that begins with “I”, respond to it with the question:
“Who is I?”
Then observe what happens.
There are two major movements in the universe: Being and Doing.
Being goes in the direction of the internal, the timeless, doing in the direction of the external, which is subject to time.
Beings who have not realized the source of consciousness, often get lost in the doing, since they see the external experience as priority.
The internal movement increases in a sentient being with an increase in awareness.
Doing without being is empty. It has no conscious quality to it.
Walking the middle way means: Mastering the being to bring it into the doing, so they become one. Then there is balance.
Wanting to get away from pain is pain.
Trying to escape the ego is ego.
Desiring to escape the human experience is human.
Instead, a partially awakened Buddha sits and observes until all illusions dissolve.
A Buddha sits.
If you give a depressed being and an optimistic being the task of walking through a city center and report what they have seen, they may give the following accounts:
The depressed describes the arguing couples, the crying children, the addicted, the homeless on the streets and the experience of overwhelming noise.
The optimistic being describes the kissing couples, the playful, laughing children, the many tastes, joys and sources of entertainment.
The enlightened one sees all and knows no difference.
Believe nothing, seek direct inquiry with limitless curiosity.
Practicing Zen is learning how to die, this is of utmost importance if you intent to learn how to live.
In couple therapy, one of my clients told her partner: “I am not the dragon, the dictator or the perpetrator, when I express what I want towards you!”
I responded: “He did not call you that. Ultimately all dragons or demons are just illusions of the mind.”
She said: “There is even a dragon in this room.”, pointing towards a Japanese ink painting.
“Oh, that is interesting,” I said: ”here is what I want you to do. Walk towards the painting and examine it closely.”
Looking at it closely, she could see the depiction of a bird. The dragon only existed in her mind.
All true action is effortless.
Having a victim identity is hidden hostility towards the world. The world, as in people, animals and situations, sense this hostility and will respond with the same energy.
As such, the victim identity will be “proven” to the ego, which believes the world is hostile to it, when in truth it is just a reflection of the inner state.
When “I” began getting established in mindfulness, “I” remember sitting in front of my desk, then “I” felt a sudden shift unknown to me.
“My” thoughts became very loud and yelled in the mind: “I am dying, am I dying?! Am I dying?!”
“I” experienced the fear of death.
Watching the sensation unbiased, the thoughts vanished fully. The mind was empty. “I” was gone.
Self was still there.
In fact: Self finally could express itself through “me”.
When you say: “I would like to do this, but… I want to have this, be that, own that….”, then “but” is an expression of inner resistance of the ego towards the now.
It does not want you to realize self.
When we are sacrificing the “but”, we sacrifice the ego and become self.
The one sacrificing everything, gains the universe and finds out: All sacrificing is, in truth, giving up illusion.
Nothing real is lost, but self is found.
When ego fights ego everyone loses.
Only, who is willing to be lost can make discoveries.
We are, what we are seeking, and every attempt at seeking creates distance to who we are.
The master is the student, the student is the master. These are roles agreed upon for mutual learning. They can only appear in relation like any form of identity. All identities are in truth illusions.
What would you do if death would be only an idea?
Purpose is not singular.
Realizing no-mind is receiving an invitation. After an invitation follows temptation. That is when guardian forces will tempt you to identify with the ego illusion.
At any point you can make a decision for time that is attachment to identity, or the timeless that is the realization of self.
Note: When you have received heavenly knowledge, you might be offered some object of desire, which is uniquely appealing to your ego to see if you can stay on the path. You have choice. You can go for the brief and impermanent pleasure or you can realize your timeless nature.
Zen is ceasing to make ripples in the water, so the water can calm itself.
Habits become thought forms, thought forms become habits.
Egos make mistakes, consciousness makes experiences.
Not quantity, but quality of doing is of importance. Since time is irrelevant for our Buddha nature, rushing experiences is pointless. It only leads to less awareness given to each experience. A lack of awareness creates karma, since we miss important information, which we can only perceive from a position of peace and compassion, there is suffering.
Cultivating a state of peace and compassion might also make it necessary to slow down, because this state should not be sacrificed for a quantity of external goals. When we rush, Nirvana is lost.
Rather do less, but do it fully.
Often when we just ended our mediation and are about to get up, then we suddenly truly meditate.
This is the moment when we let awareness enter while simultaneously ceasing all effort, as a result of this we are naturally awake.
After meditation, let all acts be slow, so you learn to maintain balance.
Your beliefs not only keep you in, they keep the infinite out.
The moment we have created a “right” view, something becomes the “wrong” view. Right and wrong can only exist in relation. In totality there is no relation, so it is the non-view, the end of all views.
When I say: “This is good”, I have given birth to bad or evil. That’s why people who believe to be good, do the most evil acts. Since they are “good”, therefore they need to eliminate their opposite, which they have labeled “evil”.
When I say: “Life has no meaning”, then I have given birth to meaning, since everything is mutually arising.
The point without opposites, the “god view”, if you will, has a
non-perspective, the end of all relativity.
The reason in Zen, why we meditate with eyes half open is to see the illusionary nature of the world. Once that is understood we can turn inwards by closing our eyes, since senses are of illusionary nature as well, and come to full realization.
Aiming for material possessions to avoid the fear of death is similar to stealing the movie that you just watched from the theater. You are latching on to a temporary experience.
Think of life as a maze. The maze has universal principals in them. Every life lesson opens the understanding to these principles. Assume you have created your life and assume you are the director. Now you are starring in your own movie and have given yourself amnesia since the maze cannot be amazing if you would find out that you have created it. As such, you sacrifice all your powers and try to find yourself. You set certain milestones for yourself. These are values beyond the illusion of identity as: Mastering compassion, creation, connection, transcendence, trust, faith, love. When you achieve mastery of certain milestones divine truth is revealed to you and you lose a bit of your amnesia.
Happiness is temporary, peace is eternal.
When a Buddhist monk bows in front of a homeless person, he expresses compassion and respect towards the role the divine soul has chosen in order to expand its consciousness through suffering. He appreciates the other Buddha’s act deeply.
Knowledge cannot be accumulated without an increased grounding in mindfulness. Great knowledge can lead to great confusion, if we are not anchored in the here and now.
Therefore a monk sweeps the yard with his broom or takes care of the sand garden, putting awareness into every stroke.
Only the masters can maintain balance.
This means: Only a master can access divine knowledge while in the limited human form without getting lost in the multidimensional experience.
Religion is not a story about god, it is a story about us.
Modern Science, as of now, struggles to find the origin of consciousness because it is being looked for in the human brain.
All phenomena are thought, since they arise as dream content of mind.
The brain is content of that dream.
As such the dreamer remains mysterious.
When we start meditation, we do not add something to ourselves.
We are meditation.
As such we only assume our primary nature.
As Dogen used to say: We sit until the blindfold drops.
We are trapped in our own beliefs. For instance:
To be just a brain in a body. All beliefs are illusions.
Now, if I identify with the physical body, instinctively I know it will dissolve like smoke. As such the fear of death arises.
The ego is a result of bodily identification, in fact: It is a result of any identification with any object of experience.
In meditation you will see things drop, like a blindfold:
First to go is 1. thought 2. emotions 3. long term moods related to your life-situation 4. day dreaming images
Then follows no-mind. The witness that cannot be witnessed. Once you realize that, you will understand beyond concepts.
All fears are illusions, if you watch them in meditation, you will find they have no substance.
In no-mind, when all phenomena ceases to be, you find immortal self.
Then nothing gained and lost will affect you anymore. It will be more like a wave on the ocean, realizing you are the ocean, it will not be a problem.
Thoughts and emotions will be like songs from a far distance or a sound like a leaf falling, rain dropping or the wind in the trees. They are being realized as another experience. Any experience is not you.
Suffering is pointless, but you need suffering to find that out.
People often are convinced when they take psychedelics that they are going on a trip. They have this confused, taking psychedelics is a brief return, having a human experience is the trip.
As long as the dreamer identifies with any object of his own dream, he will feel lost and remain a mystery to himself.
Am I something dreaming of nothing, or nothing dreaming of something? It is impossible to say.
Like the opening of the lotus, awakening happens. No specific attitude is required.
Do not try to master Zen, the self does not need a Master. It just needs the ego to surrender all effort. With total surrender, there is total self expression.
Birth can appear as messy as death. Both are the spectacle of the illusion of coming and going. None of them are a problem.
When practicing Zen do not rush, a well rooted tree does not grow over night.
Being firmly rooted in being requires gently growing beyond our attachments as the roots are pushing into the ground, continuously watered through meditation.
Spring comes, so does enlightenment.
The one approved of or disapproved of does not exist, so no emphasis needs to be given to maintain this illusion of “I” that you might seek approval for. Drop it early, so you cease identifying with a habit that maintains a form only through your attachment to it.
This is wasted energy. Nothing you can think of is you, since you are no object of thought.
Zen is trying to pick the lock to your own apartment and coming to the sudden realization that you never left it.
When you feel complete joy in a moment you might wish this moment would last forever. In truth, you were in full acceptance of the experience and felt your forever-ness.
The liberation from sorrow is not attachment to a particular experience, but to surrender all biases towards all experiences, as such you remain in a conscious state were forever-ness is recognized.
A prison of mind is to put on an act and, out of habit, to confuse the act for yourself.
Loneliness is a result of the inability to accept one’s thoughts and emotions once there is no external stimulus to distract. And as such a disconnection from self is experienced. This is often felt as boredom.
To connect with self we need to go beyond thought and emotion.
To go beyond them we need to accept them.
Once we connect with self loneliness ceases to be an experience.
The supreme being you are looking for is a less distorted you.
Your current physical manifestation is the tip of a pyramid covered up in sand.
Once you start an archeology of the mind through meditation, you will, if determined enough, find that the physical experience is just the surface of your depth and that you are in fact infinite.
You had no beginning, you have no end and right now you are playing the role of human since it entertains you and teaches you relative angles on love to come to a complete knowledge of self.
Any self-definition is self-limitation.
When you cease to have opinions about yourself, you can finally emerge.
By embracing the mystery you embrace the self.
Meditation is the ability to be intimate with oneself. Since oneself is the world. If you are intimate with yourself, you are intimate with everyone and everything. You can be intimate with your lover, a flower, a book, a stone, a tree or your neighbor. Being intimate is nothing more than giving your full attention to every moment, not to erect barriers with the conceptual mind, allowing the moment to be what it is. Self-so. Not adding or rejecting anything.
There are no others. It is one hand clapping.
The ego is the identification with the level of person, therefore creating identity.
The actual “you” wears the “person” like a suit. “You” did and will experience many “suits”.
Identifying is confusing the “servant” with the “master”. If the masters is not home, the servant gives into his urges.
The suit has its own intelligence and it is compelling to get entangled in its instinctual and conditioned desires, which creates numerous issues.
Once actual self is found, the consciousness that is animating the temporary suit is awakened in this realm/reality. The servant “thought process identification/ego”, cannot pretend to be the master anymore and self starts expressing itself through the suit.
Many people think, when they hear Buddhists speak of “no self” that they “do not exist”. Truth is relative to the point of observation, such is existence.
If you are identified with the level of “suit” (matter, form), you will think you die and fear arises. All things dissolve like smoke, as does the person. You have been manifesting as many persons.
If you are stuck on a superficial level of observation, the person appears as your relative truth. Relative truth remains ultimately unsatisfying without the absolute non-view as its contrast.
If you are convinced that there are pure and impure thought, you will be in conflict with your content of mind. Any attempt at eliminating “impure” thought will result in the opposite for whatever you resist will re-occur in ongoing conflict.
If you keep this attitude you might unconsciously divide the world into “pure” or “impure” into “good” or “bad”. Whatever is labeled impure, the desire to eliminate this will arise. The result is ongoing conflict with other human beings or groups. You can see the height of this confusion in ideologies like fascism, communism and capitalism. Any attachment to -isms shows a lack of awareness towards one’s own shadow.
The “evil” is thought to be outside of oneself which is a great illusion. The conflict on the outer plane of experience is a reflection of the inner state of hostility towards oneself and is projected outwards.
If you are in complete acceptance of the content of mind, this can occur through forgiveness and compassion towards oneself and others, then you will cease to experience conflict in the world and the wheel of karma is broken.
“Relatively speaking, there are right views and there are wrong views. But if we look more deeply, we see that all views are wrong views. No view can ever be the truth. It is just from one point; that is why it is called ‘a point of view’. If we go to another point, we will see things differently and realize that our first view was not entirely right. Buddhism is not a collection of views. It is a practice to help us eliminate wrong views. The quality of our views can always be improved. From the viewpoint of ultimate reality, Right View is the absence of all views.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation, chapter 9, p56