No Fixed Understanding
I have recently been going through a stripping-down experience. Ideas and expectations have fallen away quite dramatically: not a negative experience, although it could be. It could be bewildering if I thought about it and tried to make sense of it. But, thank goodness, I don't want to make sense because that also has fallen away! I just feel bare and free. As a result I have been experiencing a rush of creativity: observations about the world (the way things link, spark, pattern) which find their way into poems.
I think perhaps there is a periodic need for this kind of experience: it's part of a long process of unlearning. I found some notes I made nearly ten years ago:
A realization has come to me, in slow motion, over the last year. It is now resolved, fallen away as light as a feather. The story is old hat, but it hit me forcibly and deeply, and left me feeling very grateful. In a way, the experience was quite shattering: I realized that I had been clinging to some very attractive notions about God, mystery, love, the One Mind. These are notions which, in fact, only serve to belittle the very things they are about. By cherishing them, one retains a sense of personal identity, the illusion of substance. I asked myself, how can I hold on to any of these notions? I had no means: a hard fact, with no consolations.
It all boiled down to being not only without face or body, but also without any controlling mentality or enduring intelligence: without mind.
Trungpa's book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism was a tremendous catalyst. I was shocked by his statement, "I'm afraid there is no such thing as One Mind." I saw how much I had been clinging to the concept of One Mind. If you meet the Buddha, as the saying goes, kill him! It's a step into freedom.
Just as a simple statement became a catalyst, so another expressed the resolution.
From the Ashtavakra Gita: "To attempt to think of the Self which is beyond the range of thought is only to create a new thought. Abandoning such a thought, I abide in peace."It seems to me that experiences of the downstream nature of the One are real and compelling, and so are the ideas abstracted from these experiences. But neither can be grasped. All are fleeting appreciations. There can be no fixed understanding. Colin.