Conveying oneself towards all things.
November 24, 2012 § 6 Comments
“Conveying oneself toward all things to carry out practice-enlightenment is delusion. All things coming and carrying out practice-enlightenment through the self is realization.” Genjokoan by Dogen.
Sitting in meditation the mind slowly frees itself from the torment of thoughts gone wild. A certain degree of calmness arises but habitual thoughts are not easily dislodged. Going out into the world you look across a crowded room. An impulse arises and you think, “Something’s wrong.” Follow the thought and you convey yourself towards all things. A tension arises in the stomach. Thoughts spin. Once again you’re in turmoil and your peace of mind has fled. Trying to contain the whirlwind only exhausts you. After a time the storm subsides and you are discouraged that once again you have succumbed to delusion.
Whether in meditation or daily life thoughts will arise. If you believe they are real you will either be drawn to them as a source of pleasure or shun their pain. You may ask, “How can I obtain this pleasure? How can I increase it?” Or you may ask, “How can I resolve this difficulty and put an end to this misery once and for all?” In that instant the arising thought has taken form. It has become a dilemma. Prior to that the thought had no form. It was just a thought.
Once the thought has taken form it becomes a problem to be solved and you may spend lifetimes climbing mountains, crossing rivers or seeking knowledge or material gain to resolve the dilemma. Yet the entire effort would be in vain because the dilemma is a delusion. It only became a dilemma when you carried yourself toward it through desire or aversion. But when you stop engaging with the thought it slowly winds down to where you can again look at it in a state before it became a dilemma. Simply looking at thought without becoming involved is “All things coming and carrying out practice-enlightenment.”
Seeing the thought as just a thought is seeing it without form. The thought is empty because you have not turned it into a complicated structure by conveying yourself toward it.
Sit in meditation and when a thought arises simply look at it, as you would look with detachment from a boat at a passing shore. The thought is there but like the distant shore you have no need to attach to it, no need for involvement. You just sail on by and the shore just continues to pass.
Every thought that arises is an invitation to enter delusion. That delusion may be a lifetime of pleasure and you are certainly welcome to convey yourself toward that form, if you choose. But if you’re life is more pain than pleasure, as is most lives, then make note that every arising thought is also an invitation break free of delusion. You can choose thought without form. Yes. The habits of a lifetime or many lifetimes will not dissolve instantly. For a while you’ll still find yourself trying to solve some unsolvable dilemma. But as you continue to practice letting thoughts arise without giving them form you’ll become accomplished at letting them drop. As you let thoughts just be thoughts and let all things come and go as you carry out practice-enlightenment, they will flow through the self. And that is realization.