Stopping along the Way.
January 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
Many come to meditation to calm the emotions and control unruly thoughts. If the practice is allowed to deepen the realization dawns that the tide of emotions and the waves of thought never cease. The waves still lap upon the beach and the tides still cover the sand, even if there are fewer storms.
Peace of mind may then be sought through an attempt to calm the subconscious roots of the storms. Introspection and psychology then become the focus of study. For some this may be a necessary step but as the practice again deepens there comes a sense that the tree is only being pruned, leaving the roots of dissatisfaction untouched.
At this point there may be an intense study of literature that speaks of higher mind, true nature and meditation. The mind, still addicted to thinking, seeks some subtle as yet undiscovered key that will unlock the door. This may go on for years and some may die while still in the search.
One day the writing of a Sage may be found that says, “Stop the search! There is nothing to be attained.” Interestingly. This may arouse many more years of puzzling out as some other meaning is sought before the true meaning is comprehended, that there really is nothing to attain and nothing to find.
(This is actually a good thing for whatever can be attained can be lost.)
If the Sage’s words are truly understood the Seeker is faced with a dilemma. How does the search stop? And what is it that stops?
At some point another realization may dawn that from the first the Seeker was always told the search was hopeless. It was in part because of this that Siddhārtha Gautama upon becoming the Buddha, debated whether he should teach the Dharma. At about the same time Lao Tsu wrote in his Tao Te Ching that the Tao is beyond form, beyond sound and intangible. Lao Tsu therefore wrote that if you look for it, it cannot be seen. If you listen, it cannot be heard. And if you try to grasp, it cannot be held.
Though they both knew few would understand the Way both Buddha and Lao Tsu did leave a record for the Seeker to follow. Since then, others have done the same. Dogen said, “Just sit and do nothing.” Hakuin gave koans to occupy the searching mind knowing full well there was no answer to them.
Since all Sages know there is nothing to attain, they also know no method could help attain it. Still. They had faith that some would recognize the essence of “nothing to attain”. So they did their best to point the way.
If the Sages of old have done anything it was to tell the Seeker what not to do. Do not sit in meditation looking for something. Thoughts and feelings will arise but do not grasp onto them no matter how profound they may seem. Cease any effort to understand, conceptualize or feel your way through it. Ignore visions and miraculous works. Do not even hold your own self dearly but be ready to drop off mind and body.
If you let go of everything and hold onto nothing the search will stop. You will discover that all along there was nothing to attain.