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.

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§ 6 Responses to Conveying oneself towards all things.

  • A Table in the Sun says:

    ” 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.”
    This is so true! I have found in my life that I can carry everyday seemingly logical delusions pretty far with my super analytical brain. Recognizing that I have created certain problems has been a fabulous awakening for me, and has solved tricky lifelong issues.

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    • Looking back, I see a gradual transition from active engagement with thoughts to detachment. At this point there is a tendency to feel symptoms of withdrawal. The emotional comfort the stories, images and feelings provided have given way to feelings of aridity or barrenness. One could return to conveying oneself to things but knowing now they are empty of true value prevents that. But if the resultant barrenness is not escaped I can see where some may reach this state and end up feeling all is meaningless. The counteraction to this is a willed desire to the Nameless until desire turns fully away from all objects of thought and turns to Desire for Liberation.

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  • 1EarthUnited says:

    Nice discourse! In this awareness, a gap opens between the mind and reality, this precious space is necessary to discern every habitual thought. This space is inherently “empty”, so clarity is there for all to witness.
    Reality has always been obscured by the smoke screen of thoughts, and distorted even further through the use of words. Reflection through silent or active meditation pierces the mind delusion. All the drama and problems of life arise from our dualistic perception of existence. I realize the inherent irony, trying to understand/ process this truth through veiled minds lead to the very problem we are trying to overcome (in our relative state of consciousness). Like a cosmic catch-22, “attaining” absolute unity consciousness is agonizingly simple; such as it is… like the backdrop of infinite space – realize that it has been there since forever and you are already one within it. I can’t explain it in words, but it could be glimpsed through meditation – just be it! Buddha’s direct transmission of the Dharma through No-Mind/ ONE MIND – gives true meaning to being calm, cool and collected. 😉

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    • 1EarthUnited says:

      OK, disregard everything I was trying to convey, way too convoluted. All minds point to the ONE Mind. If we all sit silently together, even the “act” of meditation disappears, what’s left is meditative consciousness… which means all things are exactly as they are. The whole is perfect as is. Let’s
      “remember” to re-join and be whole once again. Cheers!

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      • Comparing what you say to Dogen’s, “Sitting is the practice of the Buddha. Sitting itself is non-doing. It is nothing but the true form of the Self. Apart from sitting, there is nothing to seek as the Buddha Dharma.” I see they are identical statements!

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  • If interested in this post you may wish to also read “The Usual Suspects–Habitual Thoughts” a Nov. 28, 2012 entry at http://www.artoflivingslowly.com/post/36749759881

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