“Being must be felt. It can’t be thought.” “In today’s rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being.” – “You must “Become conscious of being conscious.” ― Eckhart Tolle
The Zen Master exhorts, “This!” and we are puzzled. “Sensei, What is ‘This?’” “This!” Is the reply, arms arcing open. “The breeze caressing the trees. The fresh shades of green to the growth of Spring. The scent of pollen in the air. This. Look around you. Listen. Feel. This. ‘This’ is you and me standing here looking at each other striving to understand one another. It is the sky, the Earth, Life, this little flower. It is this breath, this look in my eye. This.”
And then you realize there is only “This” – as vast as the universe and as focused as a drop splashing into a puddle or a leaf on a tree. “This” is the wispy branches the leaves dance upon. It is the wind, the tree, and the tree against the sky. It is the sky. It is the entirety of the scene of the moment and it is focusing upon the smallest detail. It is me and it is you and it is the next person our journey passes. All this, and everything, is the “This!” the sensei is calling us to.
The morning owl hoots.
There’s a chill
moving to warmth.
Birds are chirping.
The tree branches are stirred in the breeze
as a squirrel scampers about.
I raise coffee to my lips,
its aroma announcing its approach,
my hands holding its warmth.
The sun is low among
light clouds in the sky.
The breeze stirs again,
My face is cooled
yet warmed in the sun’s growing light
as Eternity shimmers,
holding us all.
The question is, are you paying attention to all of “This” or are you too caught in your wandering mind? For too many, far too often, our sense of life is lived looking through and past Life, looking superficially while our mind is occupied with thinking about ourselves and the stories running in our mind over other concerns, all played out in time. We are mentally in the past and future. We do not SEE the World we move through. Nor do we truly see the fellow Beings of the World we encounter on our journey. We do not journey with Life. We move through Life. We are an object passing other objects, getting……. somewhere. But where we get is never enduringly satisfying or fulfilling because we are looking with the eyes of ego. We are an object interacting with objects. We seem always to be looking past or through what really matters, this moment in Life – This!
We are caught in the mental realm of the ego, a mental construct of a person, and the eyes of ego are the eyes of desire, of aversion and self-doubt. Everything is measured in its desirability or aversion to this ego-self, caught in its sense of separateness and insecurity. And there is never enough of it or me. We doubt ourselves and we doubt the World – and it takes great arrogance and self-absorption to doubt the World – yet ego is exactly that arrogant and self-absorbed. Buddhists call this dukkha; it is suffering and dissatisfaction.
Redirect your eyes. Come back to “This” that has been greatly overlooked. Look deeply and sincerely. Look with eyes of wonder, look to see the Life within the focus of our gaze, look with your deepest Being and you will see Beingness and connection and Life everywhere. Don’t look out AT Life. Look from within Life, as Life. This is who we are. What else could we or any expression of Life be? The result of such seeing will be numinous, it will be wonder and amazement, and the felt sense will be of the deepest gratitude. Life is. There is no abstraction to Life. It is Here and it is Now. And it is Always. It is everything. It is infinite individuality and it is infinite connectedness and unity. It cannot exclude you or me for we are within Life. We are manifestations of Life, and Life manifests as infinite diversity through infinite connectedness in the unity of Existence. I am. We are. Life is. This!
Yet we do not see. We are too busy and distracted, caught mentally in some story we are telling ourselves about who we are and what the world is, all coming out of the past and projected into the future. This is the mind of ego creating a filter, a screen of projected ideas about the World through which we see the World, and the World becomes just flat and thin and superficial. We are only looking for the elements of the World that fit into our story of desire and aversion. The depth, the beauty, the luminescence, the connectedness, the wonder, the miracle is not seen. It is all lost, dimmed and blurred by the spinning thoughts about the narrative that fills our consciousness.
Eckhart Tolle tells us we must “Die to the past every moment.” He tells us to “…Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being. Feel your presence.” He is telling us to let go of any absolute assumptions. Yes, the present will TEND to be an extension of that which is past, and the future will TEND to be reenactments of what we think and do now – yet – in this present moment, possibilities that we are missing exist. In fact, Infinity exists. The World exists always in its vastness and in its beautiful suchness and thusness, yet unless we come into the moment with the eyes of Being, with the level of absolute non-thought presence Tolle is calling us to, we will only see Life through our own shallow story. We will be unable to …Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being.
We can read teachings such as Tolle’s and Buddhism and think, this sounds good, but “How?” How do we actualize this Nirvana they are pointing to? Tolle tells us, “Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.” – And here, we may find our mind saying – “What?!” We have nothing in our education or psychologies that makes sense of this statement. Yet we know there is truth here.
If you can notice mental activity, you must realize there is a dimension of consciousness that is noticing. You can also notice how when the mind is thinking something, we sometimes experience a silent sense telling us whether the thought is worthwhile or not – a sense that is not a thought. Yet it seems to be more intelligent, more insightful than the dimension of mind thinking the thoughts. This is the dimension of Being. It is the silent intelligence behind the thoughts, an intelligence that directs our hands to delicate tasks, that causes our heart to beat and our lungs to breathe. It is all our organs and the mystery of a thousand systems and processes that is our body functioning with miraculous precision. The body works thusly – with no thought – a silent sentience directing and harmonizing it all. Yet we never consider this precision or realize that the mind, when left to its natural state, must likewise be this perfect, for mind and body are one, as are me, you, everyone and the World. All “This” is profoundly connected and in harmony. Life is not shallow and neither are we. Life is deep, multi-layered, and luminescent and so are we, but we must come out from behind the ego filter that dulls everything as it seeks only the fulfillment of its agenda.
Come into the moment with eyes and ears and senses open and without commentary. See. Hear. Feel. This will bring the mind to silence. Then – look deeper, listen more keenly, feel more subtly. “This!” Breathe consciously the breath of Life and look into Life with the eyes of Life. “This.” And it can then be any ”this” that comes alive, shimmering in Eternity. “This” is the proverbial “mustard seed” and the drop of water realizing that is the ocean.
Tolle tells us in answer to the great Zen question, “Who are we?” that we are “The space of the moment arising in awareness.” Again – “What!” – we think we have no point of reference, no experience here, yet of course we do. Like fish swimming in water and not noticing water because it is the constant of their lives, we fail to notice we exist in a field of consciousness within which all our experience occurs. The things filling our experience can be noisy and prone to conflict and problems, but that which is experiencing it all is silent and dynamically still, like the vast and deep water of the ocean. The really true miracle is when any experience is looked at with the eyes of Being. Then we can see a dynamic stillness at the heart of the thing, a profound silence even emanating from the greatest cacophony.
“There!” “This!” Enter into the silent awareness with silent awareness. We must “become conscious of being conscious.” We must become conscious of BEING consciousness. When we see with the eyes of Being we are going deeper, and it is deeper into Now, this eternal moment within which all form passes. Here we will find the “original face,” the uncontaminated consciousness the Zen master calls us to. This is the realm of Being where the luminescent and the shimmering reality of Eternity surrounds our everyday life, where we find that we live within a flowing stillness of purity. Penetrating deeply into “This!” the ordinary is seen in its sacred Truth, where an ordinary flower and the next person you meet becomes the face of God. Ordinary life is experienced as Life Eternal. “THIS!” Tolle shares, “Stillness is also inner peace, and that stillness and peace are the essence of your Being. It is inner stillness that will save and transform the world.” Yes, beneath the cacophony and confusion there is stillness, peace, wisdom, compassion, and essence. Yes, here is the realm of Being, but to see it we must learn to look deeply and lovingly. We must learn to look with the eyes of our Being. Then, having seen Paradise right in the world we live day-to-day, we must learn to walk this land, to master this, the most important journey we will ever make. Why? Because in order for it to save and transform the world, it will first have to save and transform us, and it will.