I’m two-thirds of the way through a 3700 mile spiritual road trip through the southwest and northern California. I started the journey with the thought of cleansing…cleansing a routine life and the past that still clings to my thoughts, yet the further I go on this journey the more I realize I have nothing to cleanse. Everything is before me and there is NOTHING to do.
Shackles unbound with this realization.
As human beings I think we tend to over think, and compensate for challenges in our lives. We look to fill our pain and suffering with busyness, or self-help books, or superficial masks, yet none of these things give us peace. We travel, we eat, we fill up with stuff and yet inside our pain still exists. It isn’t until we grasp the concept of NOTHING that we find peace. The concept that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be, and we are exactly how we are meant to be right at this moment. There is nothing to fix or change. There is only this moment.
A Zen master was asked ‘what is enlightenment?’ His response, ‘When hungry eat, when tired sleep.’
The simplicity to this message is life altering. At first glance, similar to the Zen words ‘before enlightenment chop wood carry water…after enlightenment chop wood carry water,’ the words seem obvious and almost comical in this direct nature of living life. Yet, look at your own life and ask yourself where you truly follow this guidance in this stripped down simplicity?
We complicate life with meaning. We live inside the pain of our meaning of the past and our hope of the future, yet we miss that which is present in front of us at this moment. When we quiet our mind, and remove all of our fear and anxiety we begin to see and hear our world around us. A Zen proverb tell us “The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.”
The other day I hiked into Boynton Canyon in Sedona Arizona. When I first left the car, my mind was filled with thought after thought. Do I have enough water? Is it too hot? Where am I going to sleep tonight? Where should I go next on my trip? I wonder what this person is doing right now?….On and on and on my mind went, in a mindless sprint. Finally a couple of miles into the hike the thoughts began to slip away and it was as if colors opened up for me. The red rocks on the cliffs became bold in orange and red hues. The abstract noises muffled and the world around me became alive. The energy vibrated and the lift was palpable to the point I sat on a rock to meditate and breath in the entirety of the moment. When I opened my eyes the entire space around me was different, same spot but my context was different. It was as if I was in harmony now with the world around me. There was no longer me and this space around me. There was now just space and I was simply the energy within along with everything else. I was one with this space, part of the whole, no longer an observer.
A hummingbird buzzed next to me sucking the nectar out of a flower. Ants marched by carrying life to their home. Two deer peered through the trees to watch me, not afraid, but curious to join in my moment. The clouds rushed in above growling and rumbling in their thunder language. The trees spoke back and danced in the wind vividly shaking in their expression. Moments before I was on a mindless, hot hike adrift in a space far away from my present moment and now I was dancing in the wind connected to everything.
I floated back to the car amidst the thunder and lightning as the rain pounced on my shirtless back. All of my concerns and pain disappeared in this connection. Everything I wanted, everything I needed was right there, all from a space of NOTHING.
“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.”
Yes, it does, and I’m not an observer but a participant in this dance of life. Life is beautiful and free in knowing this and I’m grateful to experience the full expression of the universe in this form, right here….right now, doing nothing.
Call to Action:
- Look at your life, where are you pressing life to be different from where it is. Stop resisting, flow with life and DO NOTHING….Breathe and accept.
- Find the present in every moment, this is your dance. Find it and live it.
- Be love.
Thomas D. Craig
Author A Cup of Buddha
Writer. Seeker. Adventurer. Warrior