There’s meditation, and then there are methods that help us meditate.
It’s easy to get stuck on the methods because they seem to improve our lives. They can calm us down, bliss us out, and clear things up. But all that’s beside the point.
Really, methods give us something else to cling to. They’re a symptom of the concept that causes all of our problems: the belief that we have a problem. The belief that we’re broken or incomplete.
Meditation is seeing things as they are. That doesn’t just mean seeing them as empty phenomena. It includes our confusion, craving, suffering, longing and all the shit that makes us messy, vulnerable human beings.
That means what what we see changes over time. You might be a Buddha one moment and a frustrated parent the next. Or you might be both at once, or even more.
That’s because there’s no self. There’s a boundless web of interdependence, aka, the One Mind. The way to grok One Mind is with no-mind. No-mind is just another word for no self.
When we openly observe all things inside and out, meta-cogmition stops on its own, and there’s just bright spaciousness in its place.
So how could we be incomplete? How could we be broken? You can’t break space—it doesn’t have any parts. What we’ve always taken to be a solid self is just like that space.
That’s what “we” eventually see when we start observing things. Trying to clear or settle our minds distracts us from that, because then we’re trying to find peace and clarity for a person who isn’t there.
Self improvement is like putting out cookies for Santa Claus. Sure, someone eats them, just not Santa.
And just like how Santa doesn’t really bring us presents, the self doesn’t give us experiences. Emptiness provides for emptiness.
But ya can’t strive for that kind of insight. That’s like trying to track down Santa at the North Pole. We never find him, but we could just keep making up reasons why.
“Oh, he must be using magic to make himself invisible,” “Maybe he’s vacationing in Antarctica,” “Maybe he’s really on the moon.”
All we need to do is be present with whatever is, whatever appears. That doesn’t mean evicting the past and future, and it doesn’t mean becoming the emotional equivalent of a rock.
If there’s past, then there’s past. If there’s suffering, then there’s suffering. Then, as we keep watching, there isn’t.
A clear mind doesn’t always look clear. A clear mind is always clear about what’s on it. A still mind might not look still; it’s just grounded in the groundless awareness of stillness and motion.
People always want to polish the mirror, but if you see the smudges, then you’re already clear about that.
Honestly, if anyone tells you otherwise, then they’re trying to sell you something. If you buy it, then there’s no telling how much time you might waste trying to be who you already are.
That’s not to say that it’s okay to steal from and murder people. Behaviors like that are a sign that we’re still not clear about what clarity is. Every atrocious thing anyone’s ever done, they’ve done to make themselves feel better.
When we’re clear about ourselves and the world, then there’s not even the slightest impulse to harm another. Especially since what’s true of us is true of them as well.
The Bodhisattva path can be summed up with, “There’s no self and no other. After you realize that, actualize it by living authentically.”
Zen isn’t Advaita: there’s no soul or spirit pulling the strings. There’s just this matrix of perfect interdependence that includes everything… Except us.
In a Buddhist terms, we are unborn.