if our ego does not exist, in a way 'we' do not exist. so what is this body, this mind? we have feelings and desires, experience pain and pleasure. it can't therefore be nothing.
"this" as in everything that you can think of, is an instant. it is an instant that quickly transitions to another instant, which transitions into another instant. these moments are not separate and do not exist independently from one another. they are seamless and could be thought to be happening so quickly that there is only persistent instance of reality that is universally dependent on every aspect of itself. every aspect of this instance, what we perceive as reality, relies on the relation of every imaginable and unimaginable piece of itself. everything from the furthest start from earth to the slightest breeze that graced the earth billions of years ago to how you feel about yourself right now is related and dependent. no thing is independent from this ultimate relationship that shapes the reality of this instance, of "now."
imagine you have an itch on your head and you reach to scratch it. in a traditional concept of our reality, something caused the nerve endings on you scalp to send a message to the brain which it interpreted as an itch, at which point you thought to scratch it or not. agreeing it was serious enough to act on, you raised your hand to your head and scratched your head. this process happened very quickly over time. there was a cause (the itch) that happened in the present, as time continued we spent that time thinking about what to do before reacting. so that by the time we scratched our head, the initial itch had already happened, and as such could be considered to be in the past. when perceiving the world in this way, we could say that we are always living in the past, reacting to situations that happen spit seconds before we notice.
to summarize - our brain is processing the past as if the past were now, but actually "now" is in the future and we are thinking in the past, all of which is happening right "now"!
read that as many times as it takes to make sense.
because we can't escape form "now," all thoughts of past and future events are superficial any only exist in the bind, which as also created the concept of space and time, or space-time, to help separate every element of our reality into things and events. we are an instrumental piece of all action (the sum of all things interacting together.) without consciousness doing what it does, our reality doesn't exist as it does.
we are more than a mere observer, we are the observed.
with this line of thinking, there is no way to poe anything is the way we think it is. it is in all likelihood something else altogether. but we take for granted that what our consciousness perceives as what really is and that that's all it is. this like dreaming within a dream. by removing the inner dream and awakening we become the dream itself and no longer cling to anything within, as we realize we are everything and if we are everything we have nothing to fear. nothing to lose.
we are not this body and mind that travels forward in time, day by day. we are more than that. we are where space, time and consciousness meet. traveling nowhere, but always changing, always acting. when we realize we are action even in not acting, we are liberated in a way that can not be written or communicated in any way outside of direct experience. this is the path we walk.
a year ago i knew nothing of buddhism. outside of phil jackson and steve jobs, i knew nothing of zen.
i didn't get into zen buddhism because i was looking for anything specific. i'm a curious person and i like to know how things work. so when i stumbled upon meditation, which quickly led me to buddhism, i had to know "why?" and for no other reason i started down the path...or as i like to think, jumped in.
i saw that despite how real something appears, it's bullshit. and despite being total bullshit, it's completely real. i learned that there is no beginning and no end to this, or anything. if it exists, it exists. and if it doesn't, it doesn't. and that's it. there is no in-between. and that encouraged me to let go of whether it was bullshit or real or both or neither.
i experienced an intuitive nature to life. inherent nature exists in everything and it can't be measured. i learned that any measurement, for that matter, is arbitrary. what's right? what's wrong? everything. and nothing.
i felt myself as a reflection of everything. that consciousness is a sum greater than it's parts. that the same could be said for anything. and when we follow it all back we find an unexplainable nothing. and that nothing is somehow everything.
i've learned that doesn't make sense. and that words are essential, but ultimately mere tools. they hold no mystery or power unto themselves. and anything that can be learned is not worth knowing unless you know that simple fact.
and, a lot more. at times, it felt like i was being thrown down a white water rapid, frequently smashing head-on into rocks and being scrapped along the bottom.
things have calmed down recently, and i'm looking forward to year two. the rapids have transitioned into a placid ocean (at least for now). the land which i once had to have my feet secured to at all times is beginning to disappear over the horizon. and think i'm ok with that, because i think i have everything i need right here.
so here, a year later, i've come so far, but i haven't moved an inch. nothing has changed, yet it all feels different.
we are always our activity. more accurately - we are activity.
the 'our' part of the first equation is redundant. and we are never more "activity" as we are before we begin our journey to enlightenment. ironically to realize this we must step away from this, which gives us a new perspective on who we think we are.
how do we get away from our self? how do we step outside of our body and mind? we realize that we are the relation between us and everything previously thought to be 'not-us.' friends, enemies, trees, water, mountains, fire. we exist in the space between who we think 'we' are and what we see as outside of us.
meditation, depending on who you ask could have any number of purposes. one of those purposes could be said to separate yourself from your being, physically and mentally.
as we find our perspective widening far beyond what we previously thought possible, we see that many of the things we clung to as parts of "us" that we thought we depended on, simply don't matter. and we are eventually free to throw away the biggest crutch we will ever encounter - the ego.
but this is just the beginning.
at this point we realize that we have created yet another 'good' ego that we used to throw away the 'bad' ego. and we see that to throw away this newly created ego, we must step away again, creating yet another ego. and so on it goes infinitely. realizing that there is no escaping this cycle is an important realization. at this time we begin to understand that there is no ultimate understanding that can be had as long as we are what we are - everything. the universe can not escape itself. anything we think exists the instant we think it, and disappears the moment we forget. your eyes can not see themselves and this is the same of consciousness.
the only remedy to this spinning, is to let go. and then let go of letting go. there is no escape, because it is what it is. it always has been and always will be.
the koan - a paradoxical question, typically with no logical answer. we are told we must "be one with the question." but what does that mean?
here's a simple koan: there sits a goose in a glass bottle. the opening is too small for the goose to get out. how do you get the goose out of the bottle without killing the goose or breaking the bottle?
before you try to think of an answer, think about this.
an answer only exists in relation to a question, and a question only exists in relation to our self. if our self doesn't exist, then neither does an answer or a question.
if a question can not be answered with dualistic thought, then what? throw it out! the truth lies beyond logic. think about the question, why does there need to be an answer? because you think a question exists and therefore there must be an answer. but what if you didn't see a question? or what if you saw so many questions that the question ceased to be a question! because questions as well as their answers are relative. it's kind of like saying the same word over and over again. it begins to sound strange, because words only have meaning in relation to other words.
now let's get deep.
a koan can not be answered with an "answer." a koan must be answered with direct understanding of the situation. and that situation is one where all things and thoughts in space and time become one.
it is only in our mind that anything is separated into opposing pieces. it is only in our mind that we create rules by which these pieces must act. for every "right" answer there is a "wrong" answer. and by these rules of right and wrong, we live and die. so if rules aren't rules until we think of them as such, what are rules before they're rules? certainly they always exist in some form, for we can not have the universe without the law of gravity. right?
this answer - "it" just "is."
and if it weren't? it wouldn't be!
could it be nothing? yes, within the concept that nothing is everything. but how is that possible?
it is only when your mind choses to include or exclude something from another that space and time exist. if hypothetically, you heard all frequencies of sound at the same time, do you think you would be able to discern one from another? now, what if you heard them from the day you were born to the day you died? and they never wavered in pitch or volume with not a moment of silence in between. would you hear anything?
and so everything becomes nothing.
this is the realm of zen enlightenment. this is where the line between dualities begins to blur, and eventually disappears altogether.
this is the answer to every koan, ever.