Dialogs With My Teacher #16

Michael McAlister Blog, Dialogs Leave a Comment

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning in August of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching.

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July 8, 2010 

Student: Free will and fate seem to be opposing, but are cooperative. Is there an explanation for this, or would any explanation be untrue?

Michael: Both free will and fate are constructs on the level of mind, therefore any explanation would only be pointing back to the origination of delusion. However, free will and fate remind us of interdependence since both depend on this body, this body’s needs and, of course, time. Sounds heady but it’s really quite simple. Think of it like this: what is beyond all of mind’s creations looks at any apparent conflict between or among mind’s creations and just smiles. Sometimes it even laughs so hard that space comes out its non-nose.

Student: That’s a great visual! Where is the origin of delusion anyway? Is it before the question, or before the answer?

Michael: The origin of delusion is… drumroll… birth. The birth of anything opens up an opportunity for delusion. Even the birth of realization can lead to the birth of understanding which often leads to the birth of delusion. And delusion, like anything that is born, eventually dies. Realizing what is prior to all births will point to what is forever unborn, unmade and uncreated.

So our work is kinda’ like spiritual “birth control,” I guess. Another horrific metaphor that probably doesn’t work too well, but you get the idea if you can recognize that open field prior to all that is ever born.

Student: What it points to is that which is unreachable, right?

Michael: “You” will never reach it. What is prior to “you” is it.

Student: Because once you have “reached” something, as a thing, it is found to be an illusion? You can keep chasing, keep chasing, keep finding nothing but air….is this right? Is this why you say to someone who has “understood” something in sangha, “now let it go?” Ultimate truth is unknowable? But aren’t there some truths that one can return to again and again, and still find to be true? Spiritual birth control…hmmmm…. no, I don’t get it. I’ve been trying for 5 minutes. I give up.

Michael: That giving up is the doorway. Now enter it.

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