Do Not Let the Manifestations of the Material World Obscure the Truth of Being
It is ridiculous to be sucked up into the material world of delusion
Holy Mother of Birth & Death by fly
Life is endless meetings – every day, every moment. A myriad of things come into our life; our challenge is to meet them from a place of calm-abiding. We are able to meet the myriad things when we have sufficiently studied our self-ego to the degree we are able to forget it. That’s the challenge. The outcome is not to be sought by the self-ego – rather the outcome is a traceless life of meeting what comes into your life.
When we react to life circumstances rather than respond to what comes our way, we are in the grip of delusion. The delusion is twofold. We think the self-ego is primary, when in reality it is a delusion. And second, we place our confidence (faith) in the exterior, material world to the degree we lose sight of our true nature. We can see this for ourselves. The test is simple. When we place our hopes and confidence in the exterior world for peace of mind and happiness we are caught in the veil of ignorance. When we seek peace – bliss – purpose in the material goods of life, we suffer. It’s a simple reason. We have entered the delusion of seeing our self-ego as real, permanent and separate and we see other material things with the same ignorance.
The material world is to be met and actualized, not reified as the doorway to liberation. The me-and-mine delusion confuses us and we go after the material thing with a me-and-mine delusion to fulfill us. Be it a job, career, education, money, status, position, prestige stuff, or another person. When we live in this manner, we take what is happening personally. Taking things which are impermanent personally is a significant sign of needing spiritual work. It shows the me-and-mine veil is covering reality.
The Truth is we are not a separate material body and mind and we do not possess (own) a thing even though we play the game of life as though we do. Our true nature is beyond the body and mind of me-and-mine.
When we meet the conditions that come our way, we either react out of our ignorance, (the veil of ignorance) or respond out of our true nature. It seems most of the time, we react rather than respond.
Our first step is to recognize our reactive side – the side that gets blinded by the manifestations of the material world. When we recognize the reactive side we need to seek and follow spiritual directions.
The first thing to do is calm down. Yes, that’s right. Calm down. All the old platitudes to breathe to the count of ten; go for a walk; or take a shower give us time to calm down enough to see we have been sucked up into a me-and-mine delusion.
When this happens, we need to remove our mind from the circumstances. The reactive mind is confused. We need to calm down.
Don’t react from anger. If you do react, calm down. Let what bugs you go. Be quiet. Get away by yourself. Contemplate.
The material world obscures the truth. It’s true. The material world co-opts the power of actualizing a traceless life. The traceless life is a life where the me-and-mine no longer veils our true nature. It is freedom. And it comes with power to meet what comes into life. Let me say this another way; the myriad things of life come into your life to awaken you – not to fulfill the aspirations of me-and-mine. IT, our true nature, is beyond generosity – beyond any me-and-mine aspiration. YOU, the me-and-mine is not IT – IT, the unborn, undying, eternal is YOU.
There is no doubt that life requires work. When the me-and-mine is in charge it works to get and have – things of every ilk. It sees work as drudgery – dreaded rather than generous and full of the possibility of realizing that all things that come into your life come to awaken you.
Remember. Our first step is to see the veil of me-and-mine. This seeing is no easy task. The habits of me-and-mine are old, rooted in the patterns of daily behavior. Don’t be dismayed. Even a small glimpse of seeing the veil of me-and-mine allows us to see that we are going after liberation and freedom in the wrong direction. When we put our confidence (faith) in the delusions (things) of life we suffer. The suffering of disappointment and disenchantment that follows is the generosity of our Beloved Mother of Birth & Death – showing us we put our confidence (faith) in a passing show and a veil of tears.
I leave you with this teaching by Dogen.
This Dharma Gate is not the Dharma Gate of meditation; it is the Dharma Gate of repose and bliss – practice-realization of culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate enlightenment. Once its heart is grasped you are … like the tiger that enters the mountain. …dullness and distraction are struck aside.
…the bringing about enlightenment … by a finger, a banner, a needle or a mallet….with the effectual aid of a stick, a fist, a staff or a shout cannot be fully understood by your discriminating mind or fully known by supernatural powers….
If you concentrate your efforts single-mindedly….going forward in the Way is a matter of everydayness.
Author: FaShi Lao Yue
Image credits: Fly, 2019
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 Dogen Fukanzazenji