Sunday, February 12, 2012
"The kingdom of the father is like a certain man who wanted to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his sword and stuck it into the wall in order to find out whether his hand could carry through. Then he slew the powerful man."
— Jesus Christ, from the Gospel of Thomas
Why do we need to remember the self?
It's odd. We think we have a self; we think we are the self. I am myself, I think, and yet already I know it's not true.
I am nothing. And I have nothing. Everything begins in God, and ends in God. There can be no absolute separation from God, separation from the Dharma. Every separation is actually a conjunction misperceived.
The self comes from within God, emanates from God, and returns to God. The lessons of the enneagram make this clear. Yet I catch myself up in a work of philosophy and analysis, an exercise of the same intelligence that is already not separated from intelligence, and I think that I am intelligent, not knowing that intelligence is just intelligence.
Everything I have belongs to God and originates in God. There is not a single instance, not a single object, condition, event, or circumstance that is not already God. Yet because I think I have the self, I have already forgotten the self. In acquiring belief, I lose understanding.
The forces that wish to have right influence over me are enormous and could change everything, but I don't want them. I say I want freedom, but I don't want it. I say I want truth, but I don't want it. Do you wonder why Gurdjieff said we all lie to ourselves? It's not so complicated. There it is in two sentences. There is no need to break down the myriad behaviors or analyzed the thousands of attitudes. Only a few things need to be seen clearly, and it perhaps isn't even that difficult. Maybe it's even as simple as the alcoholic who finally admits to himself, in three words, “I'm an alcoholic.”
There it is. There's no way of avoiding it anymore; this is true, it is what is true, and all of the other tens of thousands of arisings and disasters that come from it mean nothing, because the only meaning is in the simple and direct truth.
So I'm lost in belief, and I have these two big lies. I don't want to be obedient; I don't want to submit to authority. I have even erected a massive cathedral I call my inner work which helps me to avoid facing the truth. I don't even have shame about that; it's my cathedral—I built it, come and look. See how big it is and how beautifully decorated. I made it out of good deeds, and painted it with humility and compassion. Good job, huh?
Come on, I'll show you how to build one yourself.
In the Genjo Koan, Master Dōgen reminds us: “To study the way of enlightenment is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self." If I want to remember one self, I have to forget another one. I can't stuff a new self into the skin of the old self. If I am just trying to remember what I am now, there is nothing to remember. Everything I am now is what has already forgotten. When I study this, all I am studying is the inside of an empty container.
None of this can be understood until I see that nothing belongs to me. The self that sees and the self that doesn't see are both part of the Grace that creates.
Three tasks for today: inhabit, inhabit, inhabit.
I respectfully hope you will take good care.