LOTUS OF THE HEART
Living in Love beyond Beliefs
A follower liked to be in-his-head all the time, and he would try to outdo the Sage. He said, "You say everything is an illusion. Then, why should I take myself seriously at all, since I'm an illusion?" "Because, " said the Sage, "you're an illusion, but you're a real illusion."
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The Sage was asked on another occasion, "If everything is an illusion, how can prayer be prayer?" Replied the Sage, "Prayer is the absence of prayer, and prayer is the presence of prayer."
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A seeker asked, "Sir, could you succinctly tell me what is the spiritual life?"
sitting atop a
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I was working one night preparing a floor for resurfacing. I had left South Florida to return to my childhood home. So, from jail Chaplain, here I was on knees, scrubbing on a concrete floor. This was hard physical labor, like I once did but had not in years. While on the floor, an insight arose. Suddenly, the realization came-This is prayer. The insight was not merely a thought; it came as a feeling of joy and calm in the body. The strenuous labor on the hard concrete, each movement was prayer, not something added to this. I was not directing prayer to anyone or anything; I was not praying, not in any usual sense of that term. Possibly, prayer was happening for I was not praying. The prayer was everything happening; everything happening was praying.
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Prayer as what is happening relates to suchness. In Buddhism, “suchness,” or “thusness,” alludes to an ineffable quality among all phenomena, yet not identical to anything within phenomena. This quality makes it possible for a rock to exist, for the rock is linked with all things in the realm of matter. The rock is appearing within the web of impermanence. Nothing is as it appears. Everything moves. What is this suchness? No one can say. I mention this to clarify I am not speaking of such ideology, however true.
I am speaking of "suchness" in common useage, not ontology but rockology, sunology, youology; that is, anything as is right here and now. While we likely can all agree that a rock is more than it appears, the rock as rock is here. The rock is undergoing constant change, yet the rock is a rock. You may need to get stitches or a cast on the suchness that is hand that collided with the suchness that is rock. Regardless of ontological theorizing, "Ouch!" Within change, continuity is possible because of this suchness.
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Suchness becomes prayer, becomes life. Brian working on a concrete floor is Brian working on a concrete floor; that is what Brian is doing and where the doing is happening. All the known universe comes together in that one moment. No separation between Brian, floor, breathing, sweating, and scrubbing floor-that is prayer.
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When this suchness right here opens to being prayer, so that there remains no one praying and no one being prayed to, just-this-happening is enough. In this being-presence, one discovers life is enhanced. The Life Jesus spoke of, saying, "I have come so you might have life, and life more fully," is here, now, totally one with this moment-happening. As written by the Buddhist Charles Genoud, in Beyond Tranquility...
an experience without grasping
gives the measure
of what freedom or nirvana could be
the present is without a story, without anyone
but it is not lifeless
In the moment of union with the moment, as I was on that concrete floor, one cannot say what is present, but Something is present. The way with that Elusive Something is the way with the real illusion of what you contact with the senses. The contact is a mutual-sharing, its life and your life entering into each other. Anything you touch, for example, you offer into yourself. What you touch, touches you.
This wholly-communion manifested here-and-now is real enough for now, and it is the way to that which makes real illusions possible in the first place. Hence, in being present to the suchness, I am present to the Fount of all suchnesses. And in inviting anything into myself, I welcome the wholly-communion into myself.
A seeker inquired, "How might I experience nirvana?"
The Sage replied, "Let's enjoy a cup of tea."
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©️ Brian Wilcox, 2020
Brian can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; his book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, is available through major online booksellers, including Amazon and Books-A-Million, or via the publisher, AuthorHouse.