Yibo

Passage

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Humanity has a tendency to worship itself. It might think it is worshiping an outside entity, like science or a god, but secretly it is worshiping the images and ideologies it has created through thought. Thought is its powerful tool, capable of many tremendous feats, like delivering information at the speed of light. Because thought is quite capable, and thought also realizes this, humanity begins to worship itself and its own creations. It is its own creations.

But, because of this vanity, this self-centered, or rather human-centered, movement, thought isn't capable of seeing reality. It begins to think that it can actually manipulate the world and its matter. It begins to take responsibility for creation, which means thought thinks it can create and change things. Thought believes that it can be the cause of some effect, either the cause of a reform or revolution in politics, or the cause of progress in civilization.

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Awareness is like space. It judges not what is right or wrong, but simply contains all that exists. It is an intimacy that has no boundary. It knows no hurt, harbors no enemy, and words seem to fail at describing its utter simplicity. It is the very substance of peace.

Fighting is the nature of the mind. It resists reality. It builds walls and defense mechanisms to protect itself. Its judgments are the walls. It is surrounded by the good and bad, right and wrong, and therefore the simplicity of truth, which is non-dual, cannot be perceived. Awareness is the doorway through which the mind could glimpse at non-duality.

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Sitting alone amidst the valley of trees, a certain emptiness permeates. The valley is hollow, and so when a gigantic wind begins to move through, echoes of its powerful current vibrate in every branch. That vast movement travels slowly, and just listening to its sound helps one perceive the immensity one is sitting in. Its sound is like that of an ancient mystical spirit, immense yet unattached. One’s body is so small in that vast movement, that the body seems to submerge in that wind, moving with it, in bliss and freedom.

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It is a warm winter morning. That might sound paradoxical, but to the ducks resting on the frozen lake, the morning sun is quite calming and rejuvenating. Sitting by the lake, empty of worldly concern, the sun warms the body, a whisper of spring. Where the ducks rest peacefully, a small area of the lake is also unfrozen. Some of the ducks walk carefully around the edges, planting each step with hesitation, watching the rippling water with such curiosity, before they gently settle in the water, swimming ever slowly, wetting their feathers and beaks.

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Have you listened to the silence within the sound? That silence which hums merrily along with all that is audible. It feels like an immense presence bearing down on everything. And with such silence the mind is astounded, quite rightly, since that silence is like a block that does not move under any pressure. It is all-pervasive, as if it is the very constituent of reality.

The bugs that speak during a hot summer day do not care for the many tomorrows. It is the very first and the very last song of existence. With such abandonment nature goes into the unknown, carefree and unbridled, and with such force and power, how could one not face nature with utter humility?

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Silence is nature. What isn’t silently rejoicing the mere fact of existence? The song of joy isn’t sung from a particular point of view. It is rather a quiet acknowledgement of what already is. It is like a serene lake. The lake doesn’t need any accomplishments. It is content in merely being. And in this total absence of ambition, beauty is astounding, yet profoundly peaceful. Such peace seems undesirable to the mind, since the mind might be too conditioned to be free. What’s strange, however, is that there is no guarantee to the mind that such peace is desirable. It is rather outside of what it can imagine. But when the mind has had a taste of this peace, of its depth and ineffable beauty, then it might see how little and insignificant its struggle has been.

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