All And Nothing
For generations, the mystical, the unknown, the unexplained was taught to be the privileged path of the few. One had to climb mountains and sit in front of a closed monastery gate for three days or more, proving their commitment and resolve. The secrets of meditation, of awakening were revealed after a long ordeal of tests and absolute unwavering practice.
Zen masters would examine your understanding of nothingness. Expect you to empty your cup. To practice countless hours of mind-emptying techniques. From the obscure to the unexplained.
The road to enlightenment has always been a path of ‘all or nothing’. You have to pay the price. You have to cut off your head. If you want to receive everything, you have to give everything. Surrender fully. Give your all. No pain – no gain. If you join the monastery, the temple, the ashram – you have to “leave your shoes”, your past, at the door. You have to give up your hopes, desires and dreams and surrender to the will of Truth, the Teaching, the Teacher — the all-mysterious Oneness.
The interesting thing is that it seems not many have walked through these doors and reached the other side. Or at least emerged to tell their tale. Something seems a bit odd. The grand prize, hiding behind door number three is so elusive, so rare and unattainable. Even the few who have won this galactic lottery remain as mysterious and abstract in their descriptions of “that which cannot be described”.
What if we approached this mysterious experience from a completely different angle. What if we won’t consider approaching it as ‘all OR nothing’, but try to find the nothingness within All? – What if we explore a whole new perspective of all AND nothing. Instead of letting go of everything in order to find it all, allow nothing to pervade and be already present in our journey to this indefinable sense of reality.
The mind is attracted to that which is unattainable, limited and rare. Our entire society with its sales and marketing techniques are built upon this concept of supply and demand. If to become enlightened would have been as simple as walking into a Starbucks, trust me, no one would be interested. One-with-everything? Bliss? Infinity? Nah – it’s all too simple.
If you are asked to stand on your head, chant foreign names of distant gods, endure impossible tasks of unimaginable nature – then… yes. You deserve to proclaim – “I have paid the price”. I deserve to receive the impossible. I earned my place in heaven. I’ve worked hard, paid my dues and now I’m entitled to be sitting on my vyasasan, my “Guru’s throne”. Ordering others around as they begin their journey as novices, mere grasshoppers in their quest for the unattainable mountain peak.
But what if… just what if… enlightenment was nothing more than being one hundred percent authentically you. If there was not a single thing you had to do, nowhere to go, nothing to change. If anything, it would be seeing, feeling, experiencing and being what you have always been. Just without an attempt to be elsewhere. Without any effort to shift your point of reference, change where and what you are.
Suddenly your life would become so much simpler. No expensive yoga pants needed, no beads and mantras. No affirmations and week-long silent retreats. All of your efforts would collapse into and within themselves. Suddenly that elusive magical state of being, of the all pervading nothing would require nothing on your part. Your “partliness” in the grand scheme of life would no longer pose a threat to your attempt at becoming the whole.
What if… again, just what if… we have been looking in the wrong direction? Allowing an incredible scheme of supply and demand to affect our process of free will and choice. Making god, enlightenment and happiness into another form of commodity. Something we need to work hard to attain and acquire. What if, the process of meditation would not be sitting in order to find some otherworldly state of being but an invitation to experience that which has always been there. A certain flavor, a distant scent. So familiar, so memorable, you can hardly point your finger at it. It just sits there at the tip of your tongue.
If we only entertain this notion, the world and it’s “temptations” no longer take hold of us. Our fears of attachment and of spiritual decline no longer exist. Our daily reality is no longer a threat but an invitation to dive deeper. To explore and understand ourselves further. To allow and appreciate our unknowing-ness, our absolute mystery and the knowing we will never know. There is peace there in the unknowing. A comforting energy that allows us to just be. To experience life in a whole new way.
So what now you might say? Just sit there and do nothing. Allow and open. Succeed and fail. Love and lose. Surrender but not to someone or something. Go bigger with your desires. Desire everything. All. But stop to witness. Stop to feel. Stop to offer your gratitude for this incredible nothing which is found in everything you hear, touch, experience and witness.
All… and… Nothing… Nothing… and… All.