In the last few days we returned from Hatfield Pennsylvania which is just north of Philadelphia. It was winter and the trees were bare and gray. It was wintry cold too, with snow flurries. It reminded me of the verses below made famous by the Beatles but dating back from an old Zen poem:
Without going out of my door
I can know all things on Earth
Without looking out of my window
I could know the ways of Heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows
Zen poem using Beatles translation
The world can’t give us what it doesn’t contain _____________________________________________________________________________________
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The meaning of this poem is both beautiful, and profound. The things that we hope to find out there like beauty, joy, and fulfillment are actually found in here. As long as we hope to find them outside, as we travel through the world, it will only show that we have not sufficiently examined our own direct experience.
So the more we hope to get happiness from our travels in the world, the more that happiness will seem to elude us. That's because the world can't give us what it doesn't contain.
Where do we experience the universe anyway?
Moreover the calling of life is not to gain more experiences out there. It is rather to discover who you really are. When you discover what you really are you will see that the whole universe is actually contained within you. The proof of this is that you experience the universe here and not over there. The place where you experience the universe is the place where it actually exists.
The Buddha had a great way of pointing to this. He said that if we were located in our head looking out at a separate world then what would we see? It would be like looking at the world from a window, wouldn’t it? First you would see the inside of your head, which would be like the room. After that you would see your eye sockets, which would be like the window frame. And then you would see the outside world. But that’s not our experience is it? When we look we just see the world as if it’s right here and not over there.
We experience the world here, not over there
Besides if the world was really over there how would we even see it? Indeed we see the world over here and not over there. If you experiment with the pointes above, given by the Buddha, you will see clearly that the world is really inside of you; that it is only an illusion that the world is out there.
This experience will not be based on the thoughts in your head, which you can either agree or disagree with. Rather you will discover what your direct experience was all along, and what you just overlooked. With this one discovery you will grow in size immensely. The you that seemed to be limited by a mind and body will now span the whole universe. Thus whenever you experience anything in the universe, you are only experiencing yourself.
Knowing yourself you will know what all things really are
Without knowing this all of your travels, no matter how extensive are just based on ignorance. In fact, when you aim to know yourself in the way described above, even if you never travel again you will be perfectly happy and you will know all things on Earth. You will also bask in the ways of heaven. That’s because you will be the one Self that pervades the whole universe. Imagine! This is what you are already.
Feel free to ask questions
The revised edition of Making Your Wisdom Come Alive, a book that provides a step by step approach so that you can find your natural freedom, is hot off the press. It also gives you plenty of inspiration for your practice. Because we are doing a publicity campaign, there is a good possibility that I will have some radio and TV interviews. So look for them, and if you are allowed to, call in and ask questions. Remember, inner development is for the curious and this may be your opportunity to practice curiosity.
Now I want you to experience your true identity in its full glory. So please feel free to continue asking questions. I’m always glad to hear your reactions and clarify my answers. Unlike the path of faith, on the path of Self-Knowledge it is curiosity that destroys limitation and allows you to abide in your natural freedom.If the comment section of this blog doesn't work, please send your questions and comments to [email protected]. To find out where this all leads go to, www.light-up-your-life.com. And finally, if you enjoy these blogs please tell your friend
Best Wishes for Your Practice,