Monday, December 30, 2013

Blank Slate

Clear you space, your table or desk.
Sit down with a blank piece of paper in front of you and a pen.
Don't do anything else, just sit with that piece of paper.
Sit in the moment with presence, with openness.

After awhile you'll find that the paper starts to fill itself up.
To-dos, ideas, poems, notations, sketches, reminders.

The to-dos come with schedules and deadlines, the poems are tweaked, the notations are expanded upon and clarified, the sketches are refined, the reminders have names and times and the ideas snowball into projects.  All of that comes with their attendants of work and effort, a calendar of events and short and long-term goals.

The list goes on. Your page is full.

So much of the Buddha's teachings focus on the way we exist, on what is the true 'self'.  The Buddha taught that we do not have a truly existing, independent self.  Much can be said about this, but it really comes down to the fact that we do not exist the way we think we do.

We associate ourselves with what we do, how we appear, with our thoughts and ideas.
We associate ourselves with our culture, our credentials, what we like and dislike, with our name.

But that is not our true nature.  That is all writing on the paper.

It is not that we don't exist at all, that we are nothing and nothing matters- that's nihilism.

Our true nature is like the blank piece of paper.  The blank paper is pure potential.  Not being any thing at all, it can appear in any way whatsoever.  It is all-accommodating, completely open and unobstructed, and its nature is to arise in various forms.  Actually, the arising is unceasing, but therein lies the problem.

In the manner of arising we cling to the forms that it takes.  We associate with the content.  We fixate on the to-dos, the ideas and sketches; on what we do, what we think and how we feel.  Then we need to maintain and elaborate those until we are all filled up and there is no more room to doodle.

And it sucks.  We are too busy, overworked, have few moments of opportunity and too many responsibilities and demands to take the time to rest.  Unless resting is passing out in mindlessness.

That is why you meditate.  That is why you need a daily practice.

Meditation is a space to sit and abide in our potentiality, our true nature.  We can wipe the slate clean, rest in its nakedness.  Rest in openness.

And yet there is still arising.

Stuff continues to come up, to appear on our page.  But we don't need to fixate on that, it simply arises, does its thing, and exhausts itself back into our pure potential.  Our whole life is like that, it arises in various forms, does its thing and then exhausts itself and takes a new form.  The problem is that we are usually so bound up to the forms that we hate to see them go, and when they do exhaust themselves and depart we often don't recognize or abide in our pure potential but rather end up just feeling exhausted ourselves.  That is why we need to recognize our true nature.    

Not being anything at all, appearing as anything whatsoever.

ps. the Buddha described this pure potential as our buddhanature.  We all have it, it is fully manifest, right there.  We just need to recognize and abide in it to let it blossom.  Cheers!

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