Transcript of the Podcast – I have no words
I have no words, which is rather unusual for me. I’m sure I’ll think of something in a moment or two.
Having no words reminds me to get to the root, relaxing into my nature without relying on the trappings of conceptualization or making something up. It sounds so simple, just being in the moment, as we say. However, there are so many distractions in our lives.
When your mind is empty, clear like space, just being in this moment, there’s a natural bliss that emanates from this ripe fruit of being. When I get out of the way, letting go the idea of who I am, what I’m doing, what I’m concerned about, what worries me, then the beauty of being in the moment is there, what we all share, the ripe fruit of being. When we acknowledge each other, we’re really acknowledging ourselves from a non-dualistic perspective. Acknowledging another is acknowledging Self with a capital S.
We have a retreat coming up in a few weeks. I’m really looking forward to it. A retreat in nature. And why is a retreat in nature so special? Because you put aside the phone and your distractions. There will be no selfies. There will be no, “hey, look at me, I’m meditating at retreat”. No sharing with your favorite people or posting funny little memes, you know, like pictures of little Buddhas. It’s just you and all of existence. That’s it. No distractions. I’m really looking forward to just sitting with the birds and even the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are interesting to me because they’re an annoyance, right? There’s a time when mosquitoes don’t seem to bother me. It’s rare, but it does happen. And mosquitoes are kind of like people. People are like that to me sometimes. They can be really annoying, like a mosquito buzzing around. But the interesting thing for me is when the mind really is empty and clear like space and we look at each other and we really see each other, it’s such a reflection of this commonality. It’s so beyond words. You can’t express it. It’s what Bodhidharma refers to as the Mind. It’s just Mind, or I like to refer to it as Heart-Mind. It can’t be destroyed, it can’t be added to, it can’t be taken away, it’s ever-present. In the comings and goings, life and death, all of that, non-duality is present, always. We can have a glimpse of it when we just drop it and be present to a twinkle in someone’s eye, a smile, or even an annoying buzz.
There’s a reason that Buddha says the very locus of enlightenment is ignorance. It’s that buzz of the mosquito. That’s where enlightenment takes place. So when we stop trying to distract ourselves and we’re really paying attention and we’re seeing it just as it is, then we’re close. Then we’re close to grasping the reality of our being, why we’re here, what we’re doing.
Our meditation practice, how wonderful, right? How wonderful that we found this path, this way of being present just as it is, dropping all of our distractions momentarily so we can be present. And then when we go out into our world and do all the things we do, it’s with a new openness, a new vigor, a new open-mindedness.
This is a gift that keeps on giving only when you take responsibility for your own life and decide that it’s a gift you want. You can’t give it to anyone. I mean, I try to be encouraging and uplifting and encourage people to continue with their practice. Some people get it, some people don’t. It has nothing to do with my effort, it’s their effort that matters, what their karma is, and what they see and how they are. It does take sitting down and being still in order to get this equanimity. Whether we sit for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or an hour, making that effort to be still in our hectic world is very useful.
I want to leave you with this thought about responsibility. We talk about our Buddhist practice as taking responsibility for ourselves and our lives. Well, taking responsibility is really a gift. It’s not something you can explain to someone. What does that mean for you personally to take responsibility? It means stop denying the wonderful being you are. Stop denying your Buddha nature and admit that you’re this wonderful being and deserve it rather than having that habitual thought of not being good enough, defective, or all these thoughts that we’ve been carrying around with us for eons. It’s not necessary. Taking responsibility really means appreciating who we are. It’s not a burden. “Oh, now I have to take responsibility for myself” like it’s some horrible thing that you have to do. Taking responsibility is a wonderful gift we give to all beings as well as to ourselves.
May all beings be happy.
May they awaken from the dream.
May delusions fall away and clinging cease.
Ignorance, greed, and anger have no hold on the awakened heart.
Thank you, and be well.
Abbot Will Rauschenberger