There is no Eden

August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

There is no Eden without being cast out of paradise.  There is no Fountain of Youth without aging.  There is no Nirvana without Samsara.

It is understandable to seek relief from pain and suffering, to desire peace when confronted with chaos.  But Nirvana is not a state you enter where suffering no longer exists.  It is not an Eden you can go to and forget your problems.  To consider it so is just another concept that creates more difficulties and more suffering in your life.  To consider it so fosters more ignorance and further dualistic thinking that keeps you from knowing true nature.

If Nirvana is not the end of suffering then you may ask what benefit there is to realizing it.  But this question reflects a basic misunderstanding that Nirvana, or your true nature, exists apart from Samsara and the world of becoming.  In truth, all opposites arise together, complement each other, contrast each other and rest upon each other.  Nirvana and Samsara are not different.  And just as you know beauty within the context of ugliness so, too, can you know non-suffering within suffering.  So the real question to ask is, “How do I approach suffering in my life?”

It may seem paradoxical but the answer to that question is, “When suffering arises, do nothing”.

To do nothing means to stop avoiding suffering when it arises.  It means to stop trying to possess it by calling it “my suffering”.  It means to stop telling stories about it such as who is to blame for it.  It means not to dwell on how big (or small) it is or do any of the hundred other things we do to avoid suffering.

In its essence to do nothing means to just “be aware”.

Just being aware is to “just practice”.

To just practice means there are no goals to obtain, no future where there is no pain, no time when you’re better.  “Just practice” means to open up to whatever is facing you in the immediate moment.  It is mindfulness without purpose or goal, for these only separate you from what is.

Of course, it is difficult to give up the desire to end suffering.  So let me add that when you open to suffering you’ll likely find some fear behind it that you’ve been avoiding.  When encountering this fear do not run from it or try to suppress it.  Instead do nothing, meaning do not resist it.  When you stop resisting you’ll come to know the fear for what it is.  Energy.  Vastness.  The Cloud of Unknowing.

It’s this Vastness you’ve been afraid of all along; that you’ve been avoiding and resisting.  But this Vastness is really just you, your true nature.  In just being aware you come to know your true nature.

Having said this, throw it away and just practice.


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