The other side of the hill
(Readapted by a discourse done in the intensive one of 3 days January 2-4 th 2003)
It happens,inside meditation, to have the feeling to be wasting our time. Although we tie us to the breath, although we murmur there "pure
at-ten-tion" and although in some way we have an awareness leading, above all if we succeed in doing "a footstep back" in comparison to the mental phenomenons and to observe far them from, happens also us to try a sense of deep dissatisfaction. Yes, perhaps for some moment we have been able to experiment that calm
that we want, perhaps for some moment there has been full awareness. But then the flow of the thoughts is taken back strong, sometimes
it has also overwhelmed us even if immediately we have returned to the attention.
It rises therefore in us that sense of frustration of whom sees the liberty desired so distant, of whom perceives as our mind is still filled by
the obsessive flow with the thoughts.
I would like however to invite to look at the other face of the hill. This face stays us unknown, while it is being us
well forehead the clear and bright aspect of the results that we don't succeed in getting. The other
fact to note is that of the absence of results, a face that appears us naked, empty, desolate, without that marvelous trees and bushes that are us instead before. But if we go to see the practicability of the two sides, the
freedom of movement of the two sides, we will discover a strange thing: there where the ground appears us empty, deprived of trees and bushes, we can freely walk, while instead where beautiful trees and bushes
grow, there we hardly can move . What does it mean this?
I spoke of it yesterday, quoting a sentence of the Don Juan of Carlos Castaneda,
a sentence that I often quote,: We " live in a predatory universe"; we live that is in an universe where the rule is
to grab, the appropriation, both of material things and of mental things. We are brought, also in the"spiritual" things
, to unconsciously practice the art of the grasping. Chogyam Trungpa justly speaks of "spiritual materialism". In the religious practice under all the skies and all the religions this spiritual materialism is current.
It is enough to see how many the followers of Pious Father(a Catholic
miracle-worker) are, of the bishop (cardinal?) Milingo or, under other flag, of some Tibetan healers or of the Soka Gakkai. People are so gotten used to this practice of
grasping that a religiousness (not necessarily a religion) that would be
grounded on the negation of grasping seems an extravagance from Mars.
The Buddha now discovered the grasping/clinging (upaadaana ) as one of the rings of the causal chain that it brings in to be the things as are (yathabhutam
). It is therefore evident that it cannot exist mental purification where
there is grasping, even though of order "spiritual". It is therefore true that any our practice that has
, even though unconsciously, a "spiritual grasping" it brings us in a dimension that is that actual, that to grab and accordingly of the "to make to rise". I don't want to go too far on this road not to lose sight
of the principal matter, that is:
THE OVERTHROW OF OURS
WE DON'T ACHIEVE ANYTHING,
IT IS WHAT WE WANT (sic!)
This is apparently upsetting and apparently it mines the necessity of every practice. And instead the practice, the awareness, is absolutely necessary.
Dogen, a famous Zen teacher , said that to sit in meditation and being realized is not two different things,
there is no difference among them. It is to look for an objective that is wrong. But if we didn't look for an objective we would not do anything. It needs therefore to have an objective forgetting
at the same time the objective, one of the so many paradoxes of the illumination. The illumination or awakening it is the unification of the faces and the paradoxes and a paradox in
itself. It is as to make a jump. To jump we have to have first the intention to jump but it is not that then, while we are jumping, we continue to have the idea: "I Have to jump". Simply we do
The awakening or illumination it is not something we have to achieve.
It is, as someone has said, a deep psychological change and obviously , I add , this change has to have something to
do with the breakup of the coming in being of things. This breakup can come in the point of
grasping. If we allow to let go every practice of the spiritual grasping (this can happen only in a
retired session or intensive. In the daily practice other are the
graspings!), we find again there to let us go, to calm ourselves, to become relaxed. The Nirvana is considered the calm for excellence. But the necessity of the awareness
dislays here. If it were only a matter of relaxation, whoever does some autogenous or yoga training would be illuminated, but it is not this way. To relax can bring rather to fall asleep that it is really the contrary one of the
awakening. Then it is necessary that there is an awareness to balance the
letting go. And it is so much necessary that this awareness becomes an impersonal awareness and not an awareness of the "me" - "my".
It is necessary to jump, not the "I jump."
Therefore we are more ahead than we believe. We are already in the water and we will realize sooner or later perhaps stopping shouting of it,: "Give me
water to drink! ". Maybe we need to decide to explore the other face of the hill, to accept that aspect, to become
conscious that we are free where there are not bushes, even though beautiful, to hinder us.
Therefore it is necessary perhaps (rather I would perhaps remove the) to abandon every idea of spiritual realization. Once more
this reaches the paradox of the quadrature of the circle (or perhaps better of the
circularity of a square): it returns to the simplicity (aware): Simply to be. Simply I am. This is already the realization
of freedom. It is the breakup of the circuit of which the grasping is a ring.
It is that which mentioned Dogen (even if departing from different premises).
Regarding every idea of realization, you can speak of it but only to deny
it. Or we can speak, in conventional terms, as it is used "me" also knowing that it doesn't exist
any unconditioned"me" . In effects we communicate with the language. Or we can
resort to the silence that is called in our practice "the noble silence". In these days we have experimented the true silence here and there. Or the relative silence of the observation. But also
to accept the discursive mind is right. The things are as they have come in to being since there are causes and conditions for this. Stick to the things as
they are, accept them to discover that we are already in the water!