Although the street is quite busy, with cars and people getting off work, the silence is still there, pronounced, unmoved, permeating the entire atmosphere. The sky is very clear after a day of strong wind, and the sun is setting, tingeing the sky with slight pink. The winter is almost over, another season is cycling around, and the wheel of life seems to roll in its familiar pattern.
When everything is nothing, there is nothing to look for. The apparent solidity of reality, such as a “world” or a “person”, isn’t actually solid. They are like water or air. The moment they arrive they begin to leave. There is nothing behind them, nothing supporting them, nothing motivating them, nothing controlling them. There is only the apparent nothingness of thingness. The mind continues to issue challenges to be solved or objectives to search for, but the mind’s projections are also nothing projecting. They are not real, yet it isn’t that they are illusory. They are simply empty, without substance, momentary, conjuring and dissolving. This is actually freedom.
What is emptiness? Everything is emptiness. The “substance” of anything isn’t actually there, but put together by thinking. When we look at a tree, there isn’t actually a “tree”, but thought says there is a tree, and associated with it the many scientific or emotional significance: like this tree was planted by me and I am attached to it, or this tree is classified according to the shape of its leaves, and so on. These are merely responses to the tree which are not the tree. Then comes the question: what is the tree? We can also ask: without thinking about the tree, is there a tree? There is no tree.
No destination is final. Every arrival is departure. Every station is a point in the process. No point is more important, however. When there is seeming importance of certain destinations, thought and desire congeal to those points. Pressure and tension begin to accumulate, and structure, tradition, and conditioning begin to take form. All these are a play of energy. No matter how strong the desire to arrive or stay at certain destinations is, by the very nature of energy, the moment the pressure builds up it begins to dissipate also. In the birth of something death has already begun. In other words, the living is the dying.
The sky is mostly covered by clouds, but a section is clear, and the afternoon sun shines through. It looks like the doorway to heaven, but without all the man-made gods that stand guard. What beautiful color. A hint of warm pink amidst the gray. The sight is so wondrous that it empties the mind, and for a moment there is only beauty and wonder, like that of a new born child seeing the world for the very first time.
Consciousness is beyond space and time. For some reason, the mind thinks it is an entity existing within space and time. It then proceeds to understand consciousness as a limited entity also, that consciousness exits within a body, and that body exists within space and time, between the past and future, among a universe of locatable objects. This is a dream. The dream seems very real, so this experience of space and time is taken very seriously. For the mind, space and time might be reality. Such is not the case.
Duality is in the mind only. Nature is but an idea. The idea is useful for physical survival. When it comes to psychological insight, duality becomes a hindrance, the mist that obscures perception. The mind has been trained, especially in modern times, to be extraordinarily capable of dissecting, analyzing, conceptualizing, all of which are products of duality. Nature does not exist except in the mind. When there is not the idea of nature, then everything is strangely natural. Then this conflict between man and nature is nothing but a false conception, and all conceptions are false, as they are in the mind only.
The early evening light is mysterious. It has a sense of uncertainty, and contained within that uncertainty is potential. Unrealized, the potential is freedom. It is quite like the early morning light. It is liminal, in between, not here yet not there. It has the sense of the non-local, non-linear, as if it can be anywhere all at once.
The street light comes on. Human civilization has a peculiar desire to seek light, all the while ignoring the natural necessity and rhythm of darkness. It might come from ancestry, heredity, the cavemen and hunter gatherers, but in a civilization with such advanced technologies, some deep-seated ignorance still direct human endeavors, and one such ignorance is this ceaseless search.
For a short while the rain was pouring. But now all has been quiet. The birds are rejoicing the coolness of the air, sounding their music in the distance, aloof and light with joy. Even the trees are dancing with the breeze. The butterfly has come out, and without the rain, it now roams about in its patternless routine. The wet ground gives out a sense of freshness, and that freshness lives on the skin, in one’s breath, in the gray and clouded sky. Rain has the quality of cleansing. It is not like fire that burns, but more gentle, nurturing, giving. Now the breeze has stopped, the trees and their leaves stand still, so absolutely still that one wonders if they are meditating. There is tremendous energy in stillness, that silent potential, quite like the quiet before the storm, that is capable of explosive creation. When facing and listening to such stillness, the mind also tends to become still. And when it is still, no worries enter it, no fear bothers it. The mind then is truly happy, in bliss, moving with every existence in a dance so total and harmonious that friction seems like nothing but a made-up dream.
Identification with anything is a limitation. There is security in thinking that one is the body, the mind, a job, an identity, and so on. Yet implied in this security is the nagging insecurity, because anything within perception is transient, and the ultimate erasure of a separate existence is always pending. The job will end. The body will die. The mind will stop to exist. This is the root of the fear of death.
Identification limits consciousness to a particular part of itself. Consciousness then mistakes it to be only a part, but not the whole field. The field actually never changes, only the content of the field is transient. In such identification, the mind is never free, but bound by the illusory need to survive. In actuality, nothing survives, and such is the very freedom the mind is afraid of. Freedom is this very transience, is this constant change that goes on with abandonment and never looks back.