One Step Beyond Everything

Something happened to me last night. I felt myself take another step that brought me closer to where I began.

Not backward…Forward.

Away from Religion, or even Zen Buddhism. Away from seeking something outside myself. Away from Denial. Away from attachments to words, or shape or form.

One step closer to a destination that was my origin. One step closer to a destination which I am not likely to reach anytime soon and in which am in no hurry to arrive.

One step closer to my true self.

It was written in the first-person, but if you can see past the repeated references to my self it is my hope that you will see that it is written not of ego, but gratitude and a profound desire to share it.

Some time ago I tried to leave pre-conceived notions and attachments to words, ideologies, credos, party platforms, agendas, catch-phrases, clichés, prejudices, hatred, convenience, convention, and my seemingly endless addictions to sensation and strong emotions with the belief, indeed the desire to find peace and gain insight and enlightenment.

I learned to love selflessly and fearlessly which meant enduring the searing pain of letting go of comfortable but unhealthy situations or intoxicating desires amidst a sea of pleasures long enough to recognize how to walk away and accept what must be done without letting go of the love; not hating the experience or the object of my desire, and accepting each instead as a person rather than a possession, knowing full well that nothing could take either the love or the experience away from me, not even them.

I hoped that they could do the same, but even then, I had to let go of my ego long enough to let them find their own way without my continued interference. I had to trust independently of either faith or belief with detached compassion for everything to which I am connected.

I had to earn to accept the bitterness and resentment that my actions have set in motion without self-righteous indignation or resentments of my own.

I had to learn how to heal without scarification.

It is not easy to maintain a loving relationship with your family and still travel to a place of complete emptiness where even the “Bone of Space” or Dark Matter is nowhere to be found, yet I was compelled to experience it in order to continue on my journey, despite the fact that I had no clue as to where it would take me, no matter how far beyond my home that journey might be.

It takes a great deal of imagination to be able to experience an eternity of complete nothingness, even for a moment of unbridled discipline.

But once that can be realized, your imagination becomes limitless. You will be able to know the entire universe without leaving your home.

All existence is created within the mind but experience can only be found in the world you create or destroy.

But something was missing…something had been lost, and I no more knew where to look than I knew what it was that I had lost.

There came a time when I felt myself being drawn to a series of vibrations…music the likes of which I had no recollection, yet which seemed hauntingly familiar, like Dark Energy rubbing the “Bone of Space”….

Then I began to recognize it everywhere…not just in old or new songs…but everywhere.

All of the apparent discord of the world was strangely harmonizing with everything else, from broadband industrial motor noise to the high-pitched whine of a mosquito’s wings…the drone of a telemarketing call center, or the wind in the pines above my cabin…all of it.

Every blade of grass was a tongue that harmonized a symphony that I had written to celebrate this beautiful life I had created as tears of joy ran down my one true face so overwhelmed by gratitude to be right here, right now…all of it.

I am so filled with passion and love that it drowns out all the arguments and conflict that once filled my head with cacophony.

The Music is back in my life in a very big way, much like it once was, only different.

If you let it, one mosquito can spoil an entire night’s sleep. It can bring about the death of dreams if you let it.

There will always be endless potential for suffering somewhere in your world, and mine is no different…sorrow comes…sorrow goes.

If you don’t take the bait, you won’t feel the hook of Shenpa.

Whatever suffering comes into your life is going to happen for a reason. We are taught to run from pain and chase pleasure, but both are inescapable.

Pain will make you stronger, and teach you something you were meant to learn if you can stop feeling sorry for yourself long enough to recognize what it is.

There is nothing wrong with pleasure or joy, and Love is the only reason for being alive.

I embraced Zen Buddhism because I was seeking enlightenment, Peace, Understanding and Wisdom despite the fact that I really had no idea what any of those things really were, but I thought I would find a better way to live my life.

There is no escape. Meditation and chanting can provide enough distancing and perspective to gain objectivity without the obligatory participation in the Saint Vitus Dance that has mesmerized so many of our peers and ancestors unknowingly, but the act of pursuit is not life; although it may return you to your true self, the person you were before your parents were born.

Zen is a path that helps us to recognize the illusions, impermanence and insubstantiality of all existence. Zen meditation is initially a journey into emptiness, and for a long while, it was an escape.

To experience true emptiness, you have to step away from everything, including God, Buddhism, Meditation, Sex, Food, Drugs, Pleasure, Friends, Family, Parents, Home, Earth, Knowledge, Enlightenment…just this…Nothingness…even Emptiness is gone.

This is what Buddhists refer to as Nirvana“No Form, No Emptiness”. In my blissfully ignorant Hippy days, (like most of my peers) I thought it was everything…The End. The Destination.

That misconception is still endemic to our culture, but although it did not continue for very long for me, it was nonetheless a very long time before I achieved it.

I seemed to have a preternatural avoidance to embracing it…I could feel myself pull away in fear…it made me fear for my sanity (whatever little there was).

True emptiness is unnerving. It meant that I had to loose the illusion of Control, and face my mortality, as well as how insignificant my short life was.

In the midst of fearing the emptiness of my eventual death, I asked myself what was it like waiting to be born?

What is it like to be in God’s waiting room? (…and I don’t mean Boca Raton.)

Wu!…(or perhaps Mu….)

It is believed that the earth took hundreds of millions of years to form, the result of the accumulated collisions of particles in space within our orbit.

Mars is believed to have had water on it five billion years ago, and possibly even life. Where did that life go?

I had been more than a little crazy for a long time, although even that was not good enough…so I jumped into the volcano…I embraced the Void.

I suddenly remembered an LSD trip I had experienced years before, In which I had witnessed my own beheading. As I recoiled in shock I saw my own head roll to my feet…for an indeterminate amount of time it felt like everything had stopped…I could not move, or breathe, and I felt as if Time had stopped. Even my field of vision was frozen.

Then, a quiet, loving, and clear, soothing voice whispered in my ear “Who is observing this?…all of this was created within your own mind…in here, nothing can harm you.”

In this state of mind, you can bend time and space, or conjure events or items under precisely the right circumstances if your heart and your motives are pure, but it is not a parlor trick to be performed like watching a dancing bear.

I have witnessed and experienced it myself several times, but it was not unlike Douglas Adams’ description of unassisted human flight accomplished by virtue of throwing yourself at the earth and missing it…

Twice it has saved my life, and once it reminded me of the possible consequences of my actions before I took a step that I am glad I avoided.

It almost has to occur as if it was an accident. I have never witnessed it as an exercise of will or ego.

I do not pretend to have faith in anything, so I was as disinclined to believe it myself as I assume you will be, but for what it is worth it is considered a part of the arc that becomes a circle.

I have recently heard and read about what is called The Nature of the Shape of Space as regards what is sometimes referred to as the force of gravity for instance.

My understanding of general and specific relativity and quantum mechanics is so limited that I only mention it because it may well be that everything we think we think we know is wrong, but that concept does not especially bother me any more.

As for the divinity of the Buddha, I regard descriptions of his birth and life in much the same light as I do the cult of personality concerning Kim Il Sung. (But I already told you I am not a very good Buddhist….)

I read a description of the birth of the Buddha in which it is said that he sprang from the side of his mother, pointed to the North, the South, the East and the West, and proclaimed that from the endless sky above to the Earth below, only he was holy.

I am also fascinated by Greco-Roman Mythology, Egyptology, Wicca, the Old Testament and the Kabbalah, and find them insightful and full of amazing concepts, but I do not pray to anyone or anything.

I wouldn’t know where to start.

I never was a very good Buddhist, no matter how hard I tried.

I am, however, grateful for the teachings and philosophies of the Tao and Buddhism that have guided me these many years.

I am no longer concerned with the Enlightenment that I sought for so very long. The seeking is over…what comes will come. There is no attainment…there is only this…just this…everything is just like this, but seen through different eyes.

I have experienced many epiphanies that have resulted in some degree of insight, each one like another step in the journey of a thousand miles, which I regard as a continuous and life-long series of experiences.

I still read the Koans. Some are as clear as still water; some are still not.

Yet I still sit.

I still meditate.

There is a time for screaming just to shut out all the madness and chaos that surrounds us.

There is a time for quiet contemplation of the silence amidst the chaos to prepare for the great emptiness of the nothingness of Nirvana.

There is a time for the freedom of madness, and majic.

But eventually the snake will swallow its own tail.

The water flows into an out of the lagoon as the fish swim with the tide.

Love fearlessly and selflessly.

Do not demean or scorn the ways or beliefs of others unless you are the one lone voice of Reason amidst a lynch-mob.

Do not lie, cheat, or steal, but neither be afraid to accept what comes mysteriously into your possession through no fault of your own. If there is such a thing as Providence that could well be it, and would be most ungracious to decline, even in ignorance.

Deny yourself nothing that gives you pleasure that does not harm or diminish yourself or others except in its excess.

Nothing is either sacred or profane in and of itself, but you will always know the difference in your own heart when the time comes.

Always listen to your heart.

Remember to be grateful for everything; it is not only here for a reason, but since all existence is created within the mind, it is up to you to figure out why and to what end you created it.

Love selflessly and unilaterally. It is in the act of loving that we are exalted above all situations and circumstances of birth, privilege or sheer luck.

If you are blessed to be loved by someone who loves fearlessly, selflessly and without regard for its return, have the good sense to accept it without reservation of equivocation.

It is never wrong to tell someone that you love them.

What is given to you cannot be taken back, because it was already yours before it was given, just as what is theirs already is.

What we give, we get by virtue of our own giving, not by getting back.

Have the good sense to know when and how to say goodbye without regrets. Just be grateful.

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

08/16/2015

9 Responses to “One Step Beyond Everything”

  1. This feels so true, which is always a solid affirmation on life. You must be feeling fantastic and that makes me smile in your honor.

  2. You’re deep, my man. How long ago since your journey began?

    • all my life…so far.

      • Oh my, you must’ve been conceived with a consciousness to match! It’s not exactly a walk in the park, is it?

      • No but it’s really the only way I know…it is possible to completely transform one’s self on an exterior level, and adopt or reject some behaviors or even opinions, the real self remains to be continually re-discovered or interpreted by the eternally questioning mind…but you simply asked “It;s not exactly a walk in the park, is it?”….
        ( I guess I proved your point, n’est-ce pas?) 😉
        Thanks.
        Namasté
        नमस्ते
        Chazz Vincent
        (Truth is, Everyday Zen is Nothing Special.)

      • Oui, merci beaucoup. Namaste.

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