When nothing is everything

I once read somewhere that a state of “blah” that most people complain about is actually the ideal for a spiritual practitioner, especially those of the Buddhist ilk.

That being in that place of neither-good/neither-bad is the optimim “locale” for our spirits, when we’re on this path.

And it made sense.

I also found it comforting.

I still do, in fact, as today I am feeling particularly “blah” — neither-good/neither-bad — which in the modern US mindset is actually “bad”. Somehow, we need to have something going on, all the time, or we’re not being “productive”. We’re not being “effective”. We’re not being the “change agents” we’re supposed to be.

Blah blah blah. Life is its own change agent. It doesn’t need me jumping in.

An Indian colleague once told me “Nirvana means ‘naked’ so when you’re experiencing Nirvana, you’re naked.” And he giggled. He was a funny guy. And he liked to have fun.

I’ve never forgotten what he said.

And I look around me at the world as it is. I read Gudo Nijishima. I think about the earthquake in Japan and and Suzuki Shosan, and I think about the story I once heard about — a short story about a Japanese couple who were having terrible money problems. They were in such dire straits, they planned to commit suicide together. Then, when they were about to do it, they realized that if they simply lived their lives as though they were ready to die at any moment, they could actually be free of the spectre of financial insecurity.

And so they decided to live.

I wonder if this is what Shosan talks about when he urges us to “only study death”… if he realized that this was the only way to truly find the freedom to practice. I know that it has helped me, the study of death. And in it, I do find freedom. To practice.

Today I am reading Nijishima, eating peanut butter & crackers, drinking water, and making a point of not chasing anything. I watch and wonder and offer what I can in return, but I intend to not chase.

Which is hard. No sooner do I state my intention to not chase, than I start following something or someone, to see where it leads. Much of our lives are structured around the Chase. In getting Something. In creating Something. In doing Something. If you get/create/do nothing, you’ve somehow failed to live up to your potential. If you don’t chase, you’re somehow deficient.

But what if all that is completely beyond the point of … well, everything? What if nothing is Nirvana? Nakedness. Nothingness. What if nothing is… everything?

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