This entry comes from the book, Awake in This Life.


As man moves towards spiritual freedom, he moves also towards oneness.


Before a person studies Zen, mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are not waters; after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters.

—Zen saying

Things are not as they appear, nor are they otherwise.

—The Lankavatara Sutra

From the enlightened perspective, “coming home” means that we begin to allow the expansive Ultimate Life to burst through the contraction of all of our circumstances. With each step and breath we bring back into the world the realization of fullness that exists beyond time and mind. But again, we don’t do it just to benefit ourselves. We do it for the benefit of all beings. If the Realization is authentic, we don’t have a choice about any of it. The inevitability of acting for the benefit of all beings occurs because we know that the subject and object dualism that we’d previously thought to be the whole story simply isn’t. In other words, the boundary that separates the me in here from the you out there loses its importance. Instead, the me in here offers itself only as all things, eternally and everywhere, in a spacious, fluid, forgiving, Awareness. Everyone we know and love, including ourselves, as well as everyone we might find difficult to tolerate, still exists and is recognizable, but our recognition that they are in no way separate from us begins to resonate and express itself in all that we do. When this Boundlessness brushes up against and then merges with our “boundaries,” compassionate activity works to serve everything and everyone.

Acting from this place of deep compassion is nothing other than total forgiveness, and forgiveness is freely letting go of our clinging. We no longer hold onto anything in our past that has generated resistance of any kind. We simply let it all go while at the same time we do not deny any of it. This letting go creates a space for us to see Spirit more clearly in all of its disguises because we no longer are clinging to any fixed position. Nothing is left unforgiven. We are open, and this openness allows for us to directly experience Spirit as ugliness, as beauty, as loss, as gain, as hatred, as love, with nothing held back.

From here we can be freely intimate with every bit of life without flinching. We get bad news, let’s say, but instead of being beaten by it, we become close to the experience, letting it open us to what is beyond all contraction. The loss of a loved one or a job, while brutal and painful, no longer limits our deep sense of the Sacred. Similarly, we get great news, and it doesn’t pull us away from our conscious dance with the Infinite. In this welcoming relationship with all that life has for us, the whole world of form shows up as variations of Spirit. Spirit, at the same time, is uncovered as form, and each of us is timelessly expressed as the conscious explosion of the Big Bang.

Integrating this Knowing into the world becomes the most beautiful and creative of all forms of expression. We show others and ourselves to be Spirit gracefully meeting itself in an infinitely forgiving and creative presentation of this moment. Everything we are simply and elegantly shimmers and shines as nothing less than the integrated Awakening of all things right Now.

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