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Embracing Infinity

There is a story of Bodhidharma, where in it, he refused to teach anymore claiming most disciples were insincere and half-assed in their search for truth. He sat for 9 years staring at a wall waiting for the right disciple to arrive. Several people came and were instantly rejected by Bodhidharma. It was one, Dazu Huike who, for several days, repeatedly approached Bodhidharma, stating he was ready to receive the teaching, but Bodhidharma simply ignored him. Fed up, Huike instantly cut off his left arm and threw it on the ground in front of him. Without realizing what he had done, Huike screamed in pain and the following exchange took place: Huike said to Bodhidharma, “My mind is anxious. Please pacify it” Bodhidharma replied, “Bring your mind, and I will pacify it.” Huike said, “Although I’ve sought it, I cannot find it”. “There,” Bodhidharma replied, “I’ve pacified your mind”.


Awakening is a total sacrifice and plunge into Eternity. A complete sacrifice of our own separateness in each and every moment. It is a spontaneous release into the blackness of Infinity. The accumulated biographical history called “me and my life” is swallowed up and devoured. It seems that only when we give up the totality of our existence does the opportunity of realization and awakening take place; where a vast spaciousness opens up within our being and nothing is left but the ineffable suchness of who and what we are in the moment. It is as if a black hole has opened up in the centre of our being and sucked out the energetic charge of separation. 


However, as many nondual teachers see today, such a sacrifice seems to be avoided. The fear of no self can be so terrifyingly huge that subtle self-preservation strategies can sprout back up recreating the illusion of separateness. One such self created sanctuary is the belief in one’s own spiritual awakening. We can hide out in the background of our own awakening and indulge in our self created fantasy. Comically, with some people, there is even the case of believing that they have somehow outsmarted existence. It’s understandable and quite humbling to realize that many people don’t have the guts to risk it all and completely lose themselves. Sacrificing it all is sacrificing it all through and through. Our life, our dreams, hopes, relationships, careers, kids, desires, path, experiences, being and nonbeing, attaining, understanding, and even our own awakening have to be let go. There is nothing to hang on to anymore. Life continuously offers us up the opportunity to drop it all in each and every moment. 


And yet, this level of sacrifice can’t be willed or produced through some kind of mental gymnastics where one merely says to oneself, “Oh, Ok, I’ll just drop it all right here”. This seems artificial. If one still believes they are still going to “get enlightened” through some type of meditation practice or spiritual path, they are more than likely going to continue meditating or follow a particular spiritual path until it burns itself out. They won’t be able to help themselves. Like Huike, it seems that when we have exhausted all of our attempts at “getting it”; when all of our effort over the years have reached a boiling point of frustration and sheer exhaustion does there lie the possibility of an unwilled spontaneous act of total sacrifice. A total sacrifice is a direct experiential encounter with ourselves. Nothing is left unturned. Any conceptual “hangers-on” are seen through and released. And our hearts are unclenched releasing the tension of becoming and the doubt about who we are. 


And it is in this sacrifice that we are blown wide open to existence and held in an infinite embrace. Reality becomes strikingly clear. We see that there is no ending to the process of sacrifice and we delight in its continuous unfolding, marveling at the mystery of the cosmos. There is nothing to defend against because there was never a separate individual in the first place and so even the claim of awakening seems laughable. And here, it can feel like we are a conduit for existence. We are so totally surrendered that there isn’t any vestige of separateness lurking anywhere. Any uncooked seeds of separateness are seen through and burnt up. We are so blown open and taken over by existence that we are at ease with what is. As Krishna experienced, and continuously invited us, having sacrificed it all, we can dance in existence and ride the full deck of consciousness. Life becomes incredibly playful. There is no friction with what is, nothing left to understand or attain. We are free and and uncluttered with how life should be and able to respond to the moment in a clear and immediate way. There is no trajectory of how this particular life should unfold. Our careers, loved ones, and daily interactions are met freely and unattached which paradoxically brings us closer and more intimately involved. There is no demand placed on anyone or anything nor any trace of self-consciousness, rather, there is a fierce openness to all aspects of life and the opportunity has always been now. 

Posted by Brian Theriault at 3:41 PM 0 Comments

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