And I’ve got an emptiness deep inside and I’ve tried but it won’t let me go. as Neil Diamond’s song about the frog who became a king goes. Not even becoming a king helped the protagonist with this one. And why is that? Because it seems to me the core of our being is that very emptiness that we feel uncomfortable with, which is the reason why it won’t let the protagonist go.
Meditation on the other hand embraces that emptiness. It’s nothing to run away from or avoid, it is who we are, and the more we come to know it the more we become our true selves. At least in my understanding and experience.
The message from society is indeed that we must become somebody, which inherently means somebody else. And we absorb that with gusto. One of my friends left the following post on Facebook the other day
It is difficult for the mind to accept emptiness. Think of it like you’re unconditioning the mind to realise that it’s not any of the content that it’s been clogging itself up with. Not a single piece of that content. Once you begin to realise this, you begin to have the freedom to choose your own content, at the same time realising that you’ve chosen it. And why would you do this? Because there is content that makes you miserable and content that makes you happy.
Whatever you put in is relative and short lived and at the same time whatever you put in is going to condition the mind. So choose very carefully because this creates the new you. Yet choose lightly because it’s not you.
The you which is permanent is empty. Nothing there and there’s nothing to be done. The impermanent you? Develop the skills to turn the illusory frog into an illusory king by all means. That’s magic.
A while ago I did a list of values that I live by and highest on that list was freedom and reviewing that this new year I don’t think it’s changed, but then the question is how one sees freedom. Unlike some I do not search for it outwardly, but rather I search for it in my own mind. Why not? Victor Frankl, paid testament to this in the concentration camps of the Third Reich. And in this view I find what Bodhidharma points to very interesting. Here are few snippets from the Blood Stream Sermon.
“Beyond this mind you’ll never see another Buddha… Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha… And the Buddha is the person who’s free… At every moment, where language can’t go, that’s your mind… If you seek direct understanding, don’t hold on to any appearance whatsoever, and you’ll succeed… And this nature is the mind and this mind is the buddha.”
Another thought that sticks with me on this topic is the universe in which we live. While Einstein may have demonstrated that spatially it’s finite, yet continuing to expand, Stephen Hawkings finding, at least as I understand it is that temporally it’s both finite and infinite. This blows my mind in the same way the Diamond Sutra did in my mid twenties. To me Einstein’s view that energy is indestructible amounts to much the same thought, just from another point of view. What meaning does becoming have in such a context? Truly everything is just so. There is no start, yet there is a start. Perhaps we are just like that.
“Like a meteor, like darkness, as a flickering lamp,
An illusion, like hoar-frost, or a bubble,
Like clouds, a flash of lightening, or a dream;
So is all conditioned existence to be seen.”
“One should use one’s mind in such a way that it will be free from attachment.” – The Diamond Sutra.