PRACTICING THE ISNESS OF THINGS
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties except that it refuses to make preferences; Only when freed from hate and love, It reveals itself fully and without disguise. A tenth of an inch’s difference, and heaven and earth are set apart; If you wish to see it before your own eyes, have no fixed thoughts either for or against it. To set up what you like against what you dislike, this is the disease of the mind: When the deep meaning [of the Way] is not understood, peace of mind is disturbed to no purpose.
“On Believing in Mind” by the Third Chinese Patriarch of Zen – Translated by D. T. Suzuki
Much of the time we human beings are trying to make our experience “good” and not “bad.” There is perfect sense in this. For example, we should get out of the sun when we feel it is too hot so we don’t get sunburned or have heat stroke. Our body sends us messages constantly that this hurts, that tastes good, etc. and it does this for a very good reason: survival. But if our life only revolves around making ourselves feel good, we start shrinking from a spiritual standpoint.
One of the things that meditation as a non-dual practice helps us to do more skillfully is to learn to be with our experience AS IT IS, without the overlay of reactions of aversion, clinging or zoning out. Buddhism develops this practice in spades. A core teaching of Buddhism is that we experience unnecessary suffering because we resist “bad” experiences, hold onto “good” experiences and space out when experience is neutral (“boring”).
When we meditate, the “goal” is to have no goal. Not to set up anything (even great enlightenment) as the desired endpoint. Otherwise, we keep ourselves trapped in dualistic thinking where one thing is desirable (good) and another is undesirable (bad.) But this goes so counter to our usual way of relating to our life and, frankly, is a very hard sell in our culture of “every day getting better in every way.”
best wishes, Robert Cornell