The Other Side


My plan for my next book was to put 20 mainly Zen-based parables together as a sort of “pocket companion”.  I set about putting my document together and realised that I’d miscounted; I’d only written 19.  So, here is number 20!

A monk was taking the long journey home to visit his family and inadvertently took a wrong path.  He came to the point where he faced a wide river that was fast-flowing.  He looked up and down and could see no way across.  He puzzled over his predicament for several hours.  As he was about to give up and turn back, he saw an old mendicant passing by on the opposite bank.  He cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted across, “Sir, Sir, can you tell me how to get to the other side?”  The old man stopped and looked across.  He paused for a moment and then shouted back, “my child, you are already on the other side”.

How apt to end my project with another little reminder that we are already where we need to be.  The journey itself is the destination.  Consciousness is eternal and constantly evolving, so even when we make a plan, set a goal or take a journey, it is only one of an infinite number of experiences that we encounter in our own individual evolution.  The torrentially flowing river is the mind (ego) that puts imaginary obstacles in our way.  When the veil of delusion is removed there is the realisation that there is only the One timeless Self; there never was an ego, but the false belief that there was (“I am the body” identification) enabled us to take a journey within time and space that was ultimately the means by which we realised the truth of our being.

In the end we will all come to know that the path was actually pathless, that the road travelled was a road to nowhere, to the eternal bliss of nothingness that we all are.

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He Who Knows


The title of my forthcoming book has changed already!  It is now called “The Road to Nowhere – embracing the totality”, and here for your pleasure (I hope) is another extract to be…

A group of disciples were in the temple one morning awaiting the arrival of their master, Lao Tzu.  As they waited, they pondered the meaning of one of the great master’s teachings:

He who knows

Does not speak

He who speaks

Does not know

 

When their master appeared, they asked him to elaborate on the meaning. Lao Tzu responded by asking them if they had ever experienced the fragrance of a rose.  Every single hand went up.  He then asked the question, “who among you is able to explain it to us?”  No hands went up.

And this lovely little parable aptly demonstrates, that for some things, there is simply no explanation.  Just how would anybody describe the fragrance of a rose to any degree of accuracy?  There are simply no words in the dictionary to describe such beauty.  The same can be said of enlightenment, which for me is the meaning contained within this teaching.  I do not for one minute claim to be a fully realised soul.  However, I am going through a tangible awakening process that has been happening to me in stages for some years now.  There are copious amounts of words that I could use in order to describe my experience; emergence, awakening, eureka moments to name but a few, but none of them would come anywhere near an apt description.

I have heard people use the expression, “I am awake”.  But ultimately, this is only the ego speaking.  To make the statement “I am awake”, or “I am enlightened”, implies the existence of opposite states of being asleep or unenlightened.  This is duality.  In consciousness there is no duality; there is only One, therefore, a truly awakened individual would not offer any explanation of being awake or otherwise.  They would simply abide in the one true state of consciousness.

Ramana Maharshi also has a take on this, which I find quite beautiful.  He said that “truth has no words” and that “silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words”.