We humans and the world ‘inter-are’. You cannot have a long stick without a short stick. To have an atmosphere you must have a planet. To see with the eyes – there must be something to see.
There is no vision without the objects of vision. All the sense gates are like this: to hear there must be sound. We inter-are and in constant flow.
This recognition can make us feel quite vulnerable. It is because of everything that we are anything at all. In order for me to be, I need you be. What I call myself only exists as a relationship with everything else.
And time never arrives. The idea of arrival seems to be a major delusion of the human species.
There are many levels to this.
I can look at my own expectations and see that most of my projections about the future are related to the hope of arrival.
As soon as the weekend comes, as soon as zazen begins or ends – or the next sesshin starts, or breakfast dishes are done. Or my friend texts me back, or so and so apologizes or I get that job. THEN!
Arrived. I will arrive. At what? Good question. What is that I am hoping for? Another way we might grasp at arrival is when we find ourselves in a particularly pleasant or spacious state of mind – yes! The mind says – I want this forever! I have arrived here and now please how do I make it stay?!?!
Time does not arrive, beings do not arrive. Myoyu will never arrive. On a biological level this is true. I am simultaneously coming together and falling apart. Shedding skin cells and making fresh ones. Cells being born and dying. Blood and lymph and digestive fluids, sweat and saliva. All in constant flux.
Each one of us, a biological miracle! Flowing, impermanent and interconnected.
Here is Dogen again in his facicle ‘Being Time’:
Do not think flowing is like wind and rain moving from east to west. The entire world is not unchangeable, is not immovable. It flows. Flowing is like spring. Spring with all its numerous aspects is called flowing. When spring flows there is nothing outside of spring. Study this in detail. Spring invariably flows through spring. Although flowing itself is not spring, flowing occurs throughout spring. Thus, flowing is completed at just this moment of spring. Examine this thoroughly, coming and going.
And when he says the entire world, I notice this propensity to believe I am looking out at an entire world. As in, here I am, this solid, lasting and independent observer, looking out at this entire flowing world.
In practice, we are asked to relax the position of observer. Open up to the wider view and recognize our inseparability.
you and the entire world will never arrive. Let’s look again at the direct experience of sitting here. Watch thoughts come and go. Just try to make a thought stay. Feeling tones arise and fall away. Even pain changes. Intensifies and softens. Pulses. Lingers, moves. The desire for lunch or a nap may be persistent – but it too is changing in intensity and duration.
Even our ability to stay with the experience of experiencing change, changes.
Dogen from his facicle ‘being time’ : “you may suppose that time is only passing away and not understand that time never arrives.”
There are many practical applications to recognizing our inability to arrive. Hogen Roshi is continuously reminding us that we are not stuck. How could we be? We are flow. Sensations, perceptions, formations and consciousness. Always in the process of transformation.
May this transformation be for the benefit of all!