One of the most delicious experiences for a storyteller is the chance to live in the oral tradition. During my years in India I had my chance. Stories in this tradition are delivered by the teller, sometimes a Guru and other times a beggar. And each is customized for the exact moment of telling. One of my favorites is one attributed to the Zen tradition and uses the stereotype of the fat, yet wise, Asian master. One can almost imagine a life sized elephant in meditation. I think there is one around here somewhere. Well on to our story.
It seems that a disciple and acolyte of the fat elephant master had worked for years to become enlightened. But like many of us his stubbornness in clinging had always exceeded his earnestness to understand. The normal approach for this master was to have his disciple lay next to him while he sat and gave wisdom. On this particular day as he discoursed, his disciple stopped him in mid sentence with the plea “master, master, I can’t breathe”. In response the master, in all his largesse, gathered himself, stood up only to immediately sit on his disciples chest. He looked deep into his eyes and pronounced “breathe now, my beloved, breathe now!”
Now to most of us we likely would have looked into our bag of knowledge and deduced that this was a medical emergency. And the normal emergency response would have occurred. But the master has another bag called wisdom. And when he looked into that bag he found the cure for a spiritual emergency and proceeded to use it. It’s amazing how well a human body can channel in air when a fat master is sitting on it’s chest.
In a nutshell this is the position humanity always finds itself located. In today’s world we have wars, shootings, hate and violence. And in every instance there is the attempted cure of the outside world based on our knowledge. We deem ourselves to be in a medical emergency. But what if the emergence of these events is simply consciousness sitting on our chest and pointing us to the inside. This would be the wisdom path. On the outside all of our solutions are an exercise in separation attempting to cure separation. It’s never worked and never will. And the onslaught continues. It is only in the non-separate essence of consciousness itself, that it can be seen that separation is a notion that really doesn’t exist. This revelation is the only maturity that can ever arise in human affairs.
There is a difference between earnestness and stubbornness. Stubbornness is rooted in the ego and demands an attachment to some point of separation. Earnestness is the gift of consciousness that drives a seeker to find wisdom. One of my favorite metaphors is that of the Titanic. There is an old saying that warns us all not to engage in “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” believing that this somehow will help the ship avoid it’s personal iceberg. Moving the deckchairs is a solution from the path of knowledge. All you get is a better looking boat and possibly a more relaxed Julie McCoy that makes you feel better until you hit the berg.
The path of knowledge is the feeble attempt to egoically manage consciousness. It always looks out at the supposed separate pieces of manifestation. It believes that humans evolve and things will get better. The path of wisdom always looks in. Evolution is irrelevant and the eternal moment of here and now have no color nor flavor. How could they? Consciousness is all that is.
Consciousness does not evolve, it simply is. Intellectuals are wasting their time. Alligators are green and peacocks are blue. Both emerge from consciousness. What color is that. The same color as all the colors all at once. Nothing. No color at all.
So the question for you is “when will you breathe?” The master is sitting on your chest. Will you be one of the celebrated egos that tries to fix separation on the outside or will you simply go inside and breathe?