Tagged with: liberation

When self-centeredness comes to an end, we discover not that our “self” has ceased to exist but that the self is not what we thought. The self is no longer an inner sanctum of private experience or a narrow set of personal needs or expectations. Our world is our self, rather than our self being our world. Rather than constantly trying to impose our self onto life, we realize that all of life is who and what we are. Or, as Dogen put it: “To carry the self forward and illuminate myriad things is delusion. That the myriad things come forth and illuminate the self is awakening.

When self-centeredness comes to an end, we discover not that our “self” has ceased to exist but that the self is not what we thought. The self is no longer an inner sanctum of private experience or a narrow set of personal needs or expectations. Our world is our self, rather than our self being our world. Rather than constantly trying to impose our self onto life, we realize that all of life is who and what we are. Or, as Dogen put it: “To carry the self forward and illuminate myriad things is delusion. That the myriad things come forth and illuminate the self is awakening.

Practicing meditation for long periods makes it possible, at least temporarily, to know what it means to have no relationship to the passing of time and the movement of mind and memory. And not only that, it provides us with access to our own primordial depths, which inevitably gives rise to a profound and abiding sense of happiness. And that is because, slowly but surely, we awaken to that dimension of ourselves that has never been born and has never entered into the stream of time. Repeatedly experiencing such an enormous shift of perspective makes clear the liberating truth that the source of real contentment has nothing to do with satisfying any particular desire. And it reveals to us, over and over again, that who we are always has been perfectly free from who we have been as a personality.

Practicing meditation for long periods makes it possible, at least temporarily, to know what it means to have no relationship to the passing of time and the movement of mind and memory. And not only that, it provides us with access to our own primordial depths, which inevitably gives rise to a profound and abiding sense of happiness. And that is because, slowly but surely, we awaken to that dimension of ourselves that has never been born and has never entered into the stream of time. Repeatedly experiencing such an enormous shift of perspective makes clear the liberating truth that the source of real contentment has nothing to do with satisfying any particular desire. And it reveals to us, over and over again, that who we are always has been perfectly free from who we have been as a personality.

Sometimes people feel that recognizing the truth of suffering conditions a pessimistic outlook on life, that somehow it is life-denying. Actually, it is quite the reverse. By denying what is true, for example, the truth of impermanence, we live in a world of illusion and enchantment. Then when circumstances change in ways we don’t like, we feel disappointed, angry, or bitter. The Buddha expressed the liberating power of seeing the unreliability of conditions: “All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation. Becoming disenchanted one becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion the mind is liberated.”

It’s telling that in English “disenchanted,” “disillusioned,” and dispassionate” often have a negative connotation. But looking more closely at their meaning reveals their connection to freedom. Becoming disenchanted means breaking the spell of enchantment, waking up into a greater and fuller reality. This is the happy ending of so many great myths and fairy tales. Being disillusioned is not the same as being disappointed or discouraged. It is a reconnection with what is true, free of illusion. And “dispassionate” does not mean indifference or lack of vital energy for living. Rather, it is the mind of great openness and equanimity, free of grasping.

Sometimes people feel that recognizing the truth of suffering conditions a pessimistic outlook on life, that somehow it is life-denying. Actually, it is quite the reverse. By denying what is true, for example, the truth of impermanence, we live in a world of illusion and enchantment. Then when circumstances change in ways we don’t like, we feel disappointed, angry, or bitter. The Buddha expressed the liberating power of seeing the unreliability of conditions: “All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation. Becoming disenchanted one becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion the mind is liberated.”

It’s telling that in English “disenchanted,” “disillusioned,” and dispassionate” often have a negative connotation. But looking more closely at their meaning reveals their connection to freedom. Becoming disenchanted means breaking the spell of enchantment, waking up into a greater and fuller reality. This is the happy ending of so many great myths and fairy tales. Being disillusioned is not the same as being disappointed or discouraged. It is a reconnection with what is true, free of illusion. And “dispassionate” does not mean indifference or lack of vital energy for living. Rather, it is the mind of great openness and equanimity, free of grasping.

earthdrop
Rediscovering God

Those of us who have transcended mythical belief systems know without any doubt that there is no God up in the sky. But when we awaken to what I call the evolutionary impulse—the mysterious passion to evolve, to become, to develop on every level—we rediscover who God is. When we begin to experience the aspiration to evolve as that unique ecstatic compulsion in our own heart and mind, that’s when the God who fell out of the sky is awakening within ourselves, as the urge to take the next step.

Fourteen billion years ago, there was nothing. Then, suddenly, there…

- Andrew Cohen

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