These blogs are usually prepared from a teisho. This one is different, it is an extract from Albert’s comments in Genjokoan by Zen Master Dogen.
A friend had been taken by the previous blog on allowing. Her husband recently came across more words on allowing in the above booklet and drew it to her attention. I had not found this booklet previously easy to read but took it up to find what they had found. In case any of you have had my difficulty and missed this, I decided to type it out and publish it separately as a blog.
The basic illusion that we have is the illusion of existence, which is the illusion of separation: the illusion that the reflections can be separated from the mirror. To reach out to the world implies that the world is ‘over there’, apart, separate from my seeing it. We are constantly reaching out: reaching out to something, to know something, to do something, to have something. This is to see the world as having an independent reality, a reality towards which we reach.
To allow the world to come to you is awakening. To reach is intentional: one reaches in order to get, to find, to know, or have something. To allow is to be receptive, actively open to the possibility. To allow is not a passive state. It is not ‘acceptance’ ‘surrender’ or ‘not doing anything’. To allow requires intense vigilance. Without vigilance we constantly slip back into reaching out. Allowing also requires that we do not interfere.
Practice is to allow. You can control the breath – slow the breath down, or lengthen the out-breath. Or alternatively, you could sit and wait for something to happen. But also you could allow the breath to flow while remaining vigilant.
In his book, All and Everything Gurdjieff writes of the need for non-desires to predominate over desires, and Hubert Benoit writes of the ‘non-will to experience’. These are different ways of talking about allowing. In his book, Zen in the art of Archery Eugene Herrigel says that the master taught that one had to release the arrow, but not intentionally, one must allow the arrow to be released.
To be able to allow one must fully realize that nothing needs to be done.