I’ve been steeping the last few days, on my imaginary trip on the imaginary ancient Chinese sailing vessel, like a tea bag floating in a cup of water, allowing the water to flow through till the tea is made – perfectly brewed, ready for consumption. Although will have to say that the “contemplative weekend” did not go as planned. Ah – yes, the key words - “as planned.” I wanted to *find* the deep internal stillness again – as if I had somehow lost it, to “enter” it as if it was a place to go, to “separate” myself from the seeming mental agitation that felt like – well - sandpaper on a raw wound; to get away from the “suffering” of that. But therein lies the “problem” - *trying* to make something happen, seeing “my life” as separate from the Greater Context in which it is being lived, and resisting it, instead of just living it - as it is – warts and all.
And no that’s not a picture of the Great Wall of China, but it depicts what I’ve been steeping on while away. In this steeping time several things arose and flowed through. I think I’ll do a series this week on all the things I’m steeping on these days. One of which is this concept of “separation.” Spiritual teachers say that separation is an illusion. That in reality there is no separation between form and formlessness, time and timelessness, thought an no-thought, duality and non-duality, path and no-path, practice and no practice, self and Self, me and you; that these separations are just dualistic constructs of the mind that are in reality not separate from the pure Awareness/Consciousness that we are. These concepts just arise *in* this pure Knowing Awareness. This is the foundation of the Non-dual teachings – the *illusion* of separateness, because in reality everything is only One – only Oneness *appearing* as separate forms.
On some level I understand this, have experienced this, but something happened on the way to the grocery store today – not in meditation - that made it a little more real. I was traveling my usual route. I turned the corner and came down the hill with the wall coming in to view to my right. The wall has always been there. I hadn’t paid attention to it much, just that there was a wall there. It is quite high actually, I think it must be over 10 feet tall, and as you can see is actually a double wall in one place. The adjoining neighborhood to this busy street is obviously attempting to keep the noise out. But from the perspective of higher up on the hill, above the wall, the illusion is seen. At least it was for me today. It became clear in this moment that the *idea* of separation is an illusion. The wall separates nothing in reality. It’s the same on one side as it is the other. There is just the illusion of separation – a line – constructed by the *idea* of separateness, division - to keep things out – like sound, people, noise, or other people’s beliefs, etc. In reality, nothing is separate. It’s all one reality – inclusive of apparent opposites. When seen from a “higher” perspective, the illusion is seen. The so-called barriers separate nothing really.
As I continued driving I started noticing other walls and fences, illusions of separation. Some walls were thick and wide – making a very clear statement. Some were split rail fences, sending a softer message: there’s a boundary here, but not really. You can see through it. I suddenly became fascinated and amused with fences and walls and the statements that are being made by these illusory boundaries that are erected.
Robert Frost was one of my favorite poets as a teenager. One of his lines is “good fences make good neighbors” and that has been true for me. I like a boundary as much as the next guy. It’s a subtle reminder of respect. One Summer a few years back our neighbor dismantled the fence between our yards for repair and it unnerved me that there was no longer a separation there. Interesting. The mind had become so used to *seeing* the separation that it became unnerved when the separation was no longer there, when the *illusion* was dismantled. The mind loves separation, fences, walls, barriers, boundaries. The mind has a hard time seeing through the illusion… Maybe even doesn’t want to… It likes the comfort of a boundary in place, keeping things separate – which feeds the illusion of safety. I feel safe behind my self–erected fences – maybe – unless there’s a perceived threat from the *other* side. But something saw through all that today and was amused by all these fences we have constructed, whether material, spiritual – as in ‘isms’ - or psychological, to keep things in or out, to keep our “self” protected and safe. As I drove down my route I smiled realizing the humor in fences…
And so that floated through and I wanted to share it. I imagine I’ll be doing more steeping on this as well, as it doesn’t feel fully brewed. But I decided to take a few sips anyway, just to get a taste, and to share a few with you. If you have some herbs of wisdom that you’d like to add to the infusion, I’d be grateful.
Heart Smiles – MeANderi
Springtime in a Jar
5 hours ago