That’s a great question; one of the best.
I think a lot of us—at least at times—feel like we’re imbalanced, or that our lives are too chaotic. It’s part of being human.
Stability isn’t impossible, but it is counter-intuitive. There are a lot of different methods we can use to center ourselves or simplify our lives, and they’re great, but this sense of instability is like an open wound. Centering methods are just painkillers.
That wound is the way we view ourselves and others. One method that dulls the pain and points to the root of the issue is breathe in, “Who am I?’ and breathe out, “Just this.”
Emptiness and not-self are very simple and extremely subtle. They’re so simple that we can’t really help making them complicated.
As we’re reading this words, we can ask, “Who am I?” and the answer is straightforward: I-Am-Reading-These-Words. We’re not something that was or will be, we’re Just This.
Emptiness means that without you, these words, and seeing—this wouldn’t be possible. The three aren’t three. But they’re not one either, there’s no isolated One outside of these eyes, words, and this mind. And they’re not coming together to create something new that’s separate from them. We’re not rising up from this process.
That’s the only illusion, that outside of Me-Reading-These-Words there’s another me, an extra me, a Me-By-Itself. This me that I think there is outside of my experiences is created by these experiences, not in the past or future—right now, this experience. And now this one. Now this one.
When I’m outside listening to birdsong, I’m not John listening to birdsong. I’m John-Listening-To-Birdsong. When the bird stops singing, I’m John-Listening-To-Silence. John-Listening-To-Birdsong stayed with the birdsong.
John-Listening-To-Silence is empty of John-Listening-To-Birdsong, and all aspects of those experiences are empty of themselves. If there was no me, no bird, or no song, there’d be no John-Listening-To-Birdsong, and no Birdsong-Moving-Through-The-Air-Toward-John, and no Singing-Bird.
Our True Nature is just this, a Buddha is just someone who’s aware of this without needing to remember it.
Buddha said, “If there’s this, then there’s that. If this arises, that arises. If this ceases, that also ceases.” The only thing Mahayana did was say, “Yes, and if there’s that, then there’s this. If that arises, this arises. This and that aren’t two things.” This and that are interchangeable.
Just like how you call yourself, “I,” and call me, “You,” I call myself, “I,” and call you, “You.” If there’s a light, then there’s a shadow; if there’s a shadow, then there’s a light. If one of those two was missing, they’d both be missing.
This all relates to stability because who is it that wants to be stable? Just a ghost. By just being what we’re doing and what’s happening right now is stability because there’s no lingering Me-Who’s-Thinking-About-Stability leftover when things change and create a Me-Who-Wants-A-Taco.
If we think that seeing our True Nature is gonna solve all of our problems or prevent us from ever feeling stressed, then we’re gonna be disappointed. What it does is show that there’s no such thing as an outsider, a witness that carries that stress with it.
If I’m stressed out by two people arguing, I’m not stressed out by two people arguing. I’m Me-Stressed-Out-By-Two-People-Arguing. When the argument’s over, the stress is too, as is the me who was stressed, and the Two-People-Arguing. Now there’s Two-People-Not-Arguing-And-Me-Eating-A-Taco.
Everything is situational. The trouble starts when we think there’s something left behind from moment to moment or something outside of it. By just being the situation, everything we are will naturally start to fall into place if we let it.
Our nature, by nature, always makes the most of each situation. When we live like we’re outside of the moment and our experiences, we interfere with that, we bring our dirty laundry with us wherever we go.
And even when we do that, our nature still tries for the best of all possible outcomes. But, depending on how much we’re carrying, that “best” might not be all that great. But it’s still gonna be the best shittiness that it can be.
We don’t have to do anything for our nature to make the best choices with the best outcomes—we just have to see that we’re always new, and always connected to what we’re experiencing and the means that make that experience possible.
There is no self in my body or mind. There isn’t one in these words or in seeing or thinking. I’m just this lack of self in each of them, and the presence of self in all of them interacting.
As one we’re none; as none we’re one.
Just as long as we let ourselves change as the situation changes, we’ll be as stable as we can be in every situation. It takes time for all of this to click, just like it takes time to sew up a wound. That’s why the painkillers of practice are still important.
Breathe in, “Who am I?” Breathe out, “Just this.”