I remember when I initially learned a very little about Buddhism and the idea that what we call reality is really illusion, that to end suffering, we needed to recognize this illusion for what it is and thus let it go. At the time, this made no sense to me, probably because I was trying to pick it apart in my brain instead of massaging it with my spirit. When I took my first major turn on this spiritual journey of mine and read a fantasy fiction novel that led me to begin studying Paganism, I encountered this theme again, though in a slightly different shape: that everything is Divine, that we are One. At that moment in time, I was still holding tightly to my Christian upbringing and unable to fully recognize or understand this concept. It made me feel awkward and itchy like a wool sweater that fits too tightly. Again and again, this theme would resurface, looking up at me like an adorable puppy wanting to be cuddled and played with, asking if it was time yet, if I could put down the rest of the crap I was holding and sweep down to fully embrace it and play with it. Again and again, I have said, “No – not yet”, holding tightly to the things in my hands that seemed glued to them and that mirrored the illusions taking up space in my heart.
And then, maybe a month ago or so, I began seeing those things in my hands that were mirrored in my heart as not really necessary anymore. I started to think about putting them down but then thought that they were glued there – how could I even let go of them? And the more I thought about it and the more I looked into those puppy eyes of Oneness, the more I wanted to get rid of them. I started thinking about playing with that puppy and cuddling it. I somewhat painfully pried off a few things in my hands one by one, though still more remained. But my time of daydreaming about puppy playful Oneness was now tugging on my heart harder and the time of my daydreaming was growing longer and longer, my visualizations becoming stronger each time. And I remembered reading in 100 ways the Tao principle of only succeeding when we give up. Oh, how I wanted to give up but there was still a part of me that attached value to the things I was still holding in my hands. And then I came across the book I mentioned a post ago and read the following:
“Maya is all experience…constituted by, and follows from , the distinction between self and non-self…The perennial psychology declares all dualism to be not so much unreal as illusory. Cutting of the world into seer and seen, only apparently and not actually divides the world, for the world always remains indistinct from itself…The original dualism…is mythologically referred to…as the separation of Heaven and Earth, Male and Female, Sun and Moon; epistemologically, it is the separation of subject and object…; ontologically, it is the separation of self and other, organism and environment…Our Supreme Identity becomes not lost, but obscured, and thus is created “out of the Oneness of Mind” the next major level of the Spectrum [of Consciousness]: The Existential level…We might also mention that since this primary dualism separates the seer from the seen…it simultaneously creates space.
“As soon as one identifies exclusively with the organism, the problem of…life vs. death is created. The creation of the dualism of life vs. death is simultaneously the creation of time – for in the timelessness of the eternal Mind there is neither birth nor death…In other words, birth and death…are one in the eternal Now.”
And suddenly, I saw that the things in my hands now as not having been glued to them but simply me keeping a death-grip on them, and all I had to do was let them go. I looked to puppy Oneness again and the warmth it radiated rushed over me in the way that sitting down by a warm fire in the cold night soothes and gently enfolds while revitalizing the body to its proper temperature. Now, I am looking at the puppy and seeing how wonderfully True it is. I have let go of the remaining objects I had held in my hands and sat down on the floor. My heart is suddenly de-cluttered from the illusions that were taking up space in it. Puppy Oneness is in my lap, licking my face, and I am hugging it with such ferocious compassion that I had known was deep within me all along but that I couldn’t ever really embrace because of what I was holding on to in my hands and heart. And soon, I will play.