Teisho 1238 (2010)
Buddha said, ‘Life is suffering.’ Suffering is the very fabric of life. One can liken life to a tapestry: experience is the warp, suffering is the weft. Once one realises that pain and suffering are a manifestation of the awakened mind, then we begin to realise that there is a truth and reality that transcends any kind of truth or reality that comes through intellectual knowledge. But we must remember that there are degrees of awakening. Very often the initial awakening is quite shallow, just ‘ah yes!’ But now you know what it is you are seeking, and one’s doubts are gone.
Gurdjieff used to call his way ‘the way of the sly man.’ In other words, a way that is not obvious, a way that others would not recognize as being a way. But it must be based on sincerity. And it is not something one can do tomorrow. Tomorrow is a disease, a disease that grows. There is no tomorrow, there never will be a tomorrow. It is now, right now, that is all there ever is or will be. It is only now that you can come to awakening, only now that you can work. Let go of all the excuses. In this state all desires and fears are absent, not because they were given up, but because they have lost their meaning.
A questioner asks Nisargadatta “what do I need to do?’ And he replies, ‘There is nothing that needs to be done, just be.’ The finest demonstration of all koans is drinking a cup of tea and making oneself comfortable. You don’t have to change anything, get rid of anything, you don’t have to see into anything, to know anything, just be. Not ‘be yourself’ – just be.
If you are asking ‘what am I?’ intelligently, then little by little you will be stripping away all that you are not. We live normally with the assurance that there is a world of things. And we are also convinced that we are something that lives in this world. This is not wrong, but at the same time it is not complete. There is another way to see. A seeing that is being. One’s orientation changes. As long as we are caught up in things, with oneself as a thing amongst them, then one is always wondering how it all fits together, what one needs to do, how to understand it. When one wakes up as the whole, one sees everything is meaningful, everything is OK.
There are no steps to awakening. As long as you believe there is a path, a method, you will be constantly experimenting, trying this way and that, reading this book and that book, going to different teachers. Once you realise there are no steps, it changes the way you practice. There are no steps to awakening, there is nothing gradual about it.
You are the whole. You are not a part of something, a part of the whole. You are whole and complete. Being the whole does not mean there is just beauty, light and love; there is also darkness, difficulty and pain. But as T.S.Eliot said, ‘you see it as though for the first time.’ The other side of suffering is creativity; it now becomes the source of inspiration for living life creatively.