*Brian Wilcox 'A time of new beginnings'
* * *
A paradox of the Way is that we are always moving toward where we are. We are Here all the way to Here. The Way goes nowhere. The Way is more a deepening of right here, right now. This paradox, however, does not have to be a matter of tension, as would be with a contradiction. The paradox is an invitation to relax in between both sides - walking, nowhere to walk to. The paradox arises to us from the experience of the absolute and relative, both welcomed into our experience of Life. At times, I speak of the relative, other times, of the absolute: the reader is the one to work out how to honor both sides. So, read what I write as an invitation to look and see, and reply by finding out how to live wisely with being on the go and going nowhere. At one time in your life, one side may speak more to you, at another time, another side. Yet, always, the sides are of one Grace manifesting in time-and-space for us to enter intimacy with and, so, be enriched by. Then, your life becomes Worship. Love is both here, and nowhere.
* * *
Realizing, finally, nowhere to go
to get to Home
Don't look for a place with an address
- political, religious, racial, cultural, spiritual -
Don't trust one who says
"I'll show you the way" or "I know"
The question is,
"Are you awake to see?"
So much of
encourage you to stay asleep
Walk out of Soporific Show - don't look back!
Do you want to keep missing the Beauty?
I don't think so!
How could these side-shows be otherwise when
we don't realize how lovely Home is, and
if we see It for a moment, quickly forget?
When we turn from looking in all these other places
we see What is here
* * *
In my book An Ache For Union, I used "Here" for that place of no-place. The same placeless place is Nirvana, Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Paradise, Heaven, Father's House with Many Dwelling Places, Eternity, Promised Land, New Jerusalem, Cosmic Consciousness, Christ Consciousness, Contemplative Awareness, Sat-Chit-Ananda, Pure Land, Garden of Eden, Just This, Original Face, Buddha Nature, Non-Local Reality, ...
The following comical narrative shows the difficulty of trusting - so, seeing - Here is here. Larry-san was a student of Kyudo Roshi. Kyudo, a Japanese Zen Master, spoke little English.
When I tell Kyudo that I am studying to become a monk, a look of incredulity crosses his face. Then he explodes with laughter, "You monk? Larry-san a monk? Ha! Ha! Ha!"
For a moment, I think he'll never again regain control of himself, but then suddenly his laughter stops and he fixes me with a stare. "No, Larry-san, you not monk. You instant monk! Understand? Instant monk! Listen: I monk. Become monk six years old. Four years temple, fifteen years monastery. Why you want to monk?"
Stammering slightly, I tell him I want to "take my practice to a deeper level."
"Deeper level?" He laughs again, "What you mean 'deeper'? Zen practice only one level. No deep, understand? No shallow."
*Lawrence Shainberg. Ambivalent Zen.
* * *
We may struggle a long way to arrive Here - interesting, to go so far to get nowhere. So, why do anything to evolve spiritually?
1) Here does not evolve; we evolve. The image of linear progression is limited. The Way is not linear; Here is not up the road somewhere. We are walking nowhere, but we are walking.
2) Our walking the Way is for transformation. Merely walking - engaging skillful means of Grace (meditation, prayer, cooperate worship, simplicity, service to others, generosity, peace-making, ... ) - results in the unfolding of our True Selves, issues in more intimacy with Life.
3) As we mature spiritually, effort decreases. A sense of need for less effort signifies progression into Here, here. At some point, less effort means the allowance of more intimacy. At first, one may feel she is striving to place herself in the arms of the Beloved; in time, she feels relaxed in those arms that enfold her within the Beloved's Embrace.
4) Here is not an experience or a state of mind or being; Here is living, Presence with unfathomable depths. Hence, while the Light transcends personal, It is not impersonal either.
5) Some persons, however, will be drawn to abstract images of the Light (i.e., the Absolute, the Truth, Life, Beauty, Love), while others will prefer personal ones (i.e., Buddha, Krishna, God, Creator, Beloved, Friend).
6) We cannot receive what we are unprepared to welcome. Plus, we grow in the capacity to receive. We keep acting, engaging practical means for spiritual transformation. Even to say, "I'm just sitting quietly," that is doing something.
* * *
An aspirate said to the Sage, "You say all that is is already here, there's nothing to do." "No, I said, 'All that is is here.' And that all that is is here means there's much work to be done." "Yet, that implies, there's nothing to do. Doesn't it, in our spirituality?" The Sage replied, "No, it implies never become lax in your walking. This life is a precious opportunity, don't waste it. Too many are distracted by frivolity, acting like they have forever in the body. We die soon. You are the garden. No one grows a garden, though they claim to. Yet, if one does not plant seeds and cultivate the ground, what will happen?" Came the reply, "I guess nothing." "So, knowing the Way leads nowhere, means always begin walking. Knowing you can do nothing to become what you are, means get to work, and now, before it's too late."
* * *
So, we need practical means patiently to mine the depths of the Here that is here. Through wise effort, we explore and experience more richly the Presence that enfolds us in Itself, the Life which surrounds us and pulls us closer to Itself and each other, in Love. Each time we seem to have come to a stopping point, that is only a transition to more. The Way goes nowhere, and we keep walking.
* * *
(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2020