it's all connected to the source of the river is connected to the mouth and the ocean.”
-- Alan Watts, The Essential Alan Watts
to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation."
I had just opened the discussion by briefly sharing my take on Lojong slogan two. Although a couple of folks in the Circle, perhaps quite aware of the limitations, maybe even the inadvisability, of placing so much of our emotional energy and collective attention on words and discursive thought didn't participate, the rest of us jumped right in.
In about forty minutes we covered a lot of ground exploring the "groundlessness" of existence.
I loved it.
At several points the fundamentals of Zen were touched on as phrases were turned, then turned on their heads without altering the meaning at all! Even when there was apparent "disagreement", the energy stayed crisp and clear. and cordial. There was an underlying fabric of good will, good humor, and good heart all the while. The priceless ability of paradox to point to the Truth better than any declarative assertion became pretty obvious. It was an absolute hoot -- relatively speaking.
It made my heart glow.
Gaining a "solid grasp of reality" is often considered to be one of the important aspects of growing up in contemporary society. The message is pretty pervasive. We are encouraged to get real, to be "realistic" as we establish ourselves in the world. John Lennon's imaginings notwithstanding, being called a "dreamer" usually isn't a cause for pride. *
Yet, central to skillful means of Mahayana Buddhism is the notion that Life itself is "like a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream." With Practice we come to see for ourselves what The Teachings indicate. Examined closely we see clearly that there is a profoundly insubstantial and transitory character to all experience -- and that our attempts to resist that, to grasp onto anything to create a sense of security are actually the primary cause of our personal suffering.
A solid grasp of reality?
Instead: Observed clearly we see that Life is not so solid, it emerges as a vivid flow of energy within the embrace of a boundless spaciousness. That being the case, we see for ourselves that grasping at anything doesn't really work.
At that point, we may feel free enough to relax, lighten up, to grab the oars when we need to, lay them down when we need to. Then, we can really live the dream.
How cool is that?
(* "Imagine" is actually one of my favorite songs. )