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Kosho McCall: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (pt. 1) (30 min.) MP3
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"Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" (pt. 1)
Transcript of a talk delivered by Kosho McCall
August 16, 2009 - Dallas, Texas

  — PART 1 —  
(jump to part 2)

Good evening. You know Zen really isn't about anything. Zen is what we all have just been doing, being present, opening the heart, hopefully opening the mind as well. So, not really much else needs to be said. But since I was asked here, I will say a few things.

Kosho McCall
Kosho McCall

In 1988, I went to the farm of San Francisco Zen Center in Marin, California. I grew up in Maine. I had never seen California, much less the Pacific Ocean. I grew up on the Atlantic Ocean. I've not been able to find the ocean near here. Can anybody help me?

So, I was there. I went there because I had been studying Zen in Massachusetts with a Zen teacher there, and... [is this water for me, too? Should we fight over it? Oh. Thank you. Thank you very much.] Maurine Stuart was her name, and she died shortly after I went to California.

So, I was going to go to California and do this heavy-duty practice period that was for about, I think, six weeks, which seemed like a lifetime for me. I had doubts that I could make it, that I could do it, and at some point during it, I asked one of the Zen priests how long this in-training thing was supposed to be, and she said with a straight face, “Oh, 20 years.” Twenty years. And I thought she was fooling of course. She wasn't.

And actually I was just thinking about it. I left the Zen Center just a few -- let's see -- just a few months ago. So, I was there over 20 years. I didn't realize I had signed on for that long. I had not read the small print. Most of that time I spent at a monastery in the mountains inland from Big Sur. It's in the middle of absolutely nowhere, in a crevice between the mountains on a creek. They say it's very beautiful, and they say it's very pretty, very peaceful. Of course, if you're doing Zen training, it is not peaceful, which I'll mention in a moment.

So, has anybody here been to India? A few. So, I went about 10 years ago now, and -- which was -- I was not prepared for India in any way. And it was difficult, and I did end up in Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha had his great awakening. It, too, is in the middle of nowhere, and there is a giant temple there now, which was just about half-buried until the British came and liberated it and the country. They dug it out, so it was buried by about maybe 20 to 30 feet. So, we had to take our shoes off. I was with a small group. We took our shoes off, and it was very, very hot, and the sun was very, very bright. So you know that cartoon where the insects step onto a hot pan? Tk, tk, tk, tk, tk, tk, tk. That's what it was like, actually, with bare feet, trying not to touch the ground.

It was very difficult, but finally we got down the stairs and into the temple. The temple was very tall, and there was a big door, and inside it was kind of dark, and there was candlelight, and off in the distance, there was a very, very big golden Buddha sitting in meditation posture. And behind the head of the Buddha was a halo made of LED lights, and they blinked and flashed and went in patterns, and my first thought was, this is either the tackiest thing I've ever seen or the most awesome. I decided on awesome. Yes.

So, we left the inside of the temple, the interior, went around back. That's where the tree is. When I thought of the tree, the things that came to my mind were the cherry tree of George Washington and one other one, which I don't remember. Can you think of a famous thing in this country that happened because of a tree?

Male: Johnny Appleseed.

Kosho: Johnny Appleseed. That's the other thing I thought of. So, in the back, there was this giant tree, which is supposedly what had survived of the original tree, which is how these things go. And in front of the tree, between it and the temple, was a platform, a marble seat a little bigger than this, than what you're sitting on, and that was the diamond throne, and that's the place where the Buddha sat and decided he would not move until he woke up. And there was a sign off to the left of the seat, which caught my attention.

It said, “On this spot, Siddhartha Gautama sat. 2,500 years ago, Siddhartha sat unmoved and resolute until he awoke.” Unmoved and resolute. For some reason, that really touched me, because when you think of meditation, we're usually told, “Don't move.” Like, “Don't move. Don't move or somebody comes around with a stick and starts whacking you,” for your own good of course. So, I found that very helpful that it wasn't sitting there without moving. It was sitting there unmoved by sensation, unmoved by thought, unmoved by -- well, sensation and thought and emotion. Emotion is the third one. So, I found that very helpful.

So, you all know the story, I suspect. After a long time, and there are many different versions of the story, finally he awoke. And when he awoke, the legend, the story says that he said something, and what he said, according to the earliest writings, was, “It is liberated. It is liberated.” Centuries later, the Mahayanists, who -- well, let's see. The Mahayanists -- Mahayana means The Big Vehicle. The Big Vehicle that everybody can fit in. They looked at the earliest Buddhists, the Theravadins, and called them Hinayana, the little vehicle. So, it's a term of actually derision coined by a more popular open larger movement, which is neither here nor there. But how they -- what they said the Buddha said was that he said, “Wonderful. Wonderful. All living beings possess the wisdom and the virtuous sign of the Buddha, but they do not realize this because of their clinging to desires and delusions.” This is totally radical, you know?

What this says in my mind is that when he awakened, everything awakened. All beings awakened. That means us, that actually you may think you're who you are, but actually you are a living Buddha, a living Buddha. Later on, these words were put into his mouth. He said, “When I attained absolute perfect enlightenment, I attained absolutely nothing. That is why it is called absolute perfect enlightenment.”

When he woke up, he saw a few things that were to him the nature of reality itself. He saw that suffering is real. It actually is real, and no amount of activity or repression can make it go away. You know, especially -- well, I suppose especially in our culture, suffering is not cool. Losers suffer, and so we're at a -- if we believe that, we are at a great disadvantage, and actually nothing can happen on the spiritual journey if you don't take suffering seriously.

The reason is because compassion is the key. We're just saying to Avalokitesvara, her job isn't to do anything else other than be aware of other people's suffering. Being aware and feeling other people's suffering. You know? That's compassion. Loving-kindness is something else. Loving kindness is surrounding people with love. Compassion is being open to and accepting suffering of others and oneself.

And he found that suffering actually could end only by facing it with compassion, or willingness to feel it, by developing this new relationship to it. Instead of trying to kill it or crush it or make it or scare it away -- none of those work. Only allowing it to be there works and meeting it with loving-kindness.

One teacher has said that we see affliction -- ducca -- it's called ducca -- not as an unavoidable evil, let alone as the curse of mankind that the path is designed to eliminate, but rather we see suffering as the essential starting point without which the spiritual journey would not be possible. Suffering is necessary.

The second thing the Buddha saw was change. You know how you hate change? I mean, who likes change? Well, I like it when I'm the author of it, right? I'm not so sure when someone else does it, which is kind of a partial view, because the Buddha saw that every thing, assuming there are things, are always changing from instant to instant to instant. I mean, when you think about it, that's not such a surprise, if you look carefully. Everything changes, and there's nothing you can do about it. There's nothing you can depend on to not change, and you can depend on that. You can rely on it. No matter what, it changes.

The third thing he noticed was that, oh my goodness, we're not separate from each other. We're not separate from anything. Different, yes, but not separate. In fact, that everything we think and say and do affects everyone and everything else. We are not alone on this planet, none of us. In fact, we are intimately interconnected, that all beings are interconnected with Being, capital B. And of course, if you think about it, intimacy is what we desire most. I think that's what we long for the most, intimacy, contact, touching. Certainly in human terms, to be able to actually touch heart-to-heart, mind-to-mind with another. A puppy will do. They're more open than most people, I think.

So, we long for connection. We long for intimacy, and the last thing -- well, he didn't discover this certainly, but he realized that the truth of karma, that anything we do with any intention creates a stickiness that needs to be resolved sooner or later. And it is this intention that appears when we deal with suffering or pleasure. They're not so different, where we will want pleasure. Like an amoeba. You know what an amoeba is? A single-cell glob of protoplasm that acts like we do. When it sees something it wants, it goes towards it, engulfs it, and consumes it utterly, makes it himself, itself. If there's something nasty, it recoils. It tightens, constricts, just like us. If it's something that's neither pleasant nor unpleasant, if it's neutral, it doesn't even notice, just like us.

So, when we are faced with suffering or pleasure, usually what pops up is I, the ego. It's not just the cookie over there. At first it is, but then pretty soon it's, “I want that cookie,” turning into, “I need that cookie. I must have that cookie, whether you want it or not.” So, that kind of clinging to oneself, to I, the ego, is the cause of suffering.

We are here tonight, I think, because of one reason, and in Buddhism it's called bodhicitta, which is the mind of awakening. It's that consciousness that arises in us in which we wish to awaken, but to awaken to help others, to be of benefit to others. And that's the key, to be of benefit to others. And once it awakens, there is no hope for any of us to get out of it. You cannot ever go back. Once it bites, it lasts forever, even if you are in this business on this journey to help yourself. That's good enough, because it includes ourselves if we see our self as a separate object that needs to be fixed. We can make our self other -- other -- so to awaken for the benefit of others includes myself if I think it's separate. So, it's fine and not to be worried about. It may sound selfish, but actually it's not selfish. It's just deluded.

And we wish to awaken to undertake the spiritual journey because of suffering. And the Buddha when he talked about suffering said, “This is what suffering is.” He said, “Birth is suffering. Sickness is suffering. Old age is suffering. Death is suffering. Grief, lamentation, pain, depression, agitation are suffering. Suffering is being associated with what you do not like, being separated from what you do like and not being able to get what you want.” That pretty much covers it, doesn't it? It covers most of my day.

Incidentally, you know, what do you think the opposite of suffering is?

Female: Contentment.

Kosho: Yes. Who said that? Did you say that? Good for you. Most people say happiness. Happiness is not the opposite of suffering. Contentment is. Contentment. Who'd have thought? It doesn't sound very thrilling as happiness, but actually it's contentment, being at peace with no complaint, actually. Without suffering, there is no need to be free from it. There is no need to awaken. There's no need for liberation. There's no need for enlightenment. So, suffering is not exactly our enemy, even though we think it is.

Those in the realm -- in Buddhism, there are six realms of existence, and the realms of gods and animals are two of them. The gods are very happy. There is nothing wrong. They have everything they need. There is no pain, only pleasure. The trouble is it's temporary. It's like heaven, only temporary. The realm of the gods ends when they notice that first gray hair. Then everything falls -- then they immediately fall into the hell realm, the hell realm. And the hell realm is one of torment, but it's temporary. It's temporary. It is the unpleasant residue of unwholesome karma. It's not like you've been bad, just kind of unwholesome, made a few mistakes. And animals are, you know, like animals. They are -- what -- often the sweetest things and sometimes vicious, but there's no intention, I think, to hurt, except for maybe chimpanzees, which I've heard actually do take up a rock and hurt a chimpanzee with in anger. Too close to us. Too close. So, I think by and large the realm of the gods and the realm of animals don't really have the need to awaken.

Then the other realms are the realms of the hungry ghosts, which are depicted as a person, but they have a distended belly of one who is malnourished, and their neck is very, very long and thin, pencil thin, with a tiny mouth. They cannot get what they need. They can never be satisfied. Do you know anybody like this? It's sort of like the seeker, who continually is seeking for relief, for enlightenment, for the true thing, the right thing, and the minute they get there, they notice the fence over which on the other side is much greener grass. So, that kind of dissatisfaction is the realm of the hungry ghost.

And the last one is the realm of the titans or the asuras. Mostly these are beings with constant road rage. They are always, always angry. There is something that happens moment-to-moment that pisses them off continually, and again, all these are temporary. Once the karma that created the condition wears off, then they move on to a next realm.

Myself, I came to Buddhism because I wanted wisdom. I was not suffering. There was no suffering in my life. Actually, there was a whole pile, but I just thought it was my life. I didn't know it was a problem. So, mostly I wanted to -- having grown up in a crazy family, an alcoholic family, I wanted to find out what is real here? What's going on? And how can I save them? Any of you who have experience with that know, nice try. Yeah.

So, there's an old Zen teacher from the 13th century in Japan, where my school comes from. Dogen is his name, and he said, “The more abundant the clay, the bigger the Buddha,” clay being suffering. The more suffering there is, the bigger the enlightenment, the bigger the liberation. Makes sense, doesn't it? So, we kind of have to rethink our notion about suffering. Incidentally, we don't have to go find it somewhere else. We have enough. So, the Buddha awakened, and that started... [that was a nice song. Thank you.] That started people looking for enlightenment. He started people wanting liberation of a Buddhist kind.

And one of the things I noticed in Zen Center where I came from was that this often, that the enlightenment is presented like a carrot on a stick, on the end of a stick, you know? That, “Keep trying. Keep trying. Keep trying.” And the more you run after it, the faster it gets ahead of you, and that if you only tried, you would get it. You would get this giant carrot of freedom and wisdom and compassion, and if you didn't get it, then you were doing it wrong. Well, I think some of us actually do believe that, that maybe next lifetime, certainly not this one. I can't seem to separate the veil between me and what I want the most, freedom.

But actually, it's not really like that. Cheri Huber, if you've heard of her, a Zen teacher in California, who said, “That which you are seeking is causing you to seek.” That that you are seeking is causing you to seek. It's not outside. It's not over there. It's inside. In fact, between you and it, there is no between. We sometimes want to be, I think, enlightened so that I'll get smarter, more attractive, better personality, to be invulnerable, or to get peace of mind. Those are kind of self-centered. Do you notice that? Kind of self-centered. But again, that's fine. Anything that gets us through the door of practice is just fine, even if it's self-centered. What else are we going to be at that point?

One teacher said this about enlightenment -- said, “Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special. It's not. If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred. The funny saying about enlightenment is that when it is authentic, there is no one to claim it. Enlightenment is very ordinary. It is nothing special. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence. When you are enlightened, the whole notion of enlightenment and someone who is enlightened is a big joke. I use the word enlightenment all the time not to point you toward it, but to point you beyond it. Do not get stuck in enlightenment.”

That Master Dogen, who I referred to a minute ago, he said it this way. He said, “Supreme, perfect enlightenment is bowing to someone and not thinking whether you like them or not.” It's as simple as that.

  — PART 2 —  
(jump to part 1)

So, this not knowing that we are actually a Buddha, and we are actually enlightened is a veil that our ego -- egos are really cool, don't get me wrong. The last thing you want to do is to get rid of it. We don't function well without a sense of self. So, it's not a matter of getting rid of ego. It's a matter of seeing what it actually is, and what it actually is is a part of our consciousness that's able to separate off from the rest of consciousness. It's very small. It's just that it thinks it's the whole thing. Well, it isn't. It isn't.

And so there's only one way to find that out, and it's through meditation, where you actually watch it. You watch how it behaves. You watch its habits, its opinions, its points of view, its needing to control everything, and nothing is controllable. Everything is out of control, except my room, and even that I wonder about.

I mean, when you think of the earth, it's falling. When you think of it's in freefall -- this thing that seems so solid actually isn't. You know, of course, from physics that most of what we call matter is actually space, vast, empty space. So, there's not really much there. Then when you think of this fragile earth, our island home, as not being stationary in space and time but actually in freefall, how frightening that is. But not only that, but our galaxy is also in freefall. Of course, the good news is that it's not going anywhere, right? Because it's infinite.

Now, so the key to awakening is of meditation. In Zen, we call it zazen, which isn't all that clever. “Za” just means sitting, and “Zen” means meditation, so “sitting meditation.” And to make it maybe just a little more complicated, zazen meditation can happen in standing, sitting, walking, or lying down, so you're pretty much covered. And it's called in Zen the method of no method. We like to talk like that. It makes really good bumper stickers.

So, the method of no method. You know how we are when we get a method? We try to kill it to death, to use it to death, to strangle the opposition, or is this just me? Sorry for revealing everything about myself. We tend to focus -- with a method, we tend to focus on the goal, and we push the goal way out there, and the more we struggle and the more we grasp and the more we cling, it keeps moving ahead of us, so that's why we call it the method and no method. That's no method. So, do it, but don't take it seriously. But do it completely and utterly, wholeheartedly.

So, in a way, zazen meditation is working hard, very hard, not to work so very hard. Working hard not to work so very hard. And it takes astounding effort, right? As you know. As you know. So, the two things are necessary. One is awareness of the body, which is watching your breathing, and the other is awareness of your thoughts, which is the activity of the mind. The mind is like a popcorn machine. Thoughts are like popcorn or like bubbles in a glass of ginger ale. Where do they come from? The same thing with thoughts. Seem to come from nowhere and will not stop.

So, in dealing with the thoughts, the idea is not to eradicate them. It's not a good sign when the thoughts stop. OK? Really. So, the idea is not to -- again, not to kill them, not to make them disappear, but to hold them instead, which is not to identify with them. You know how you can start thinking, and you're gone? We are astounding beings that way. Like we can be sitting here, and some of you can be in Hawaii at the same time, right? We have this amazing gift of daydreaming. I think it's really wonderful.

But I don't know if we really want to dream our life away. You know that song from the sixties, the fifties? Dream, dream, dream, dream. The only trouble is, gee whiz, I'm dreaming my life away. Right? That's how the song ends. So, dreaming is OK, but it may not be the best thing to spend our life doing. In fact, it's the dream that we want to wake up from, the dream of our culture, the dream of our history, the dream of our future. It's OK to have them, and one wants to awaken from them, to be free from them.

So, when you're aware of your breathing, which is a good thing to cultivate, that's the one thing that the Buddha really stressed about meditation. Watch your breathing. Watch it. And when you watch it, you'll notice you want to control it immediately. You know, it's hard to let the body breathe itself, and it will, but letting go of control is really hard. That's why it takes a long time. That's why we do this for a long time.

And incidentally, if you want to be intimate with another person, sit with them and watch your breathing while they talk or while they sit there, while they look at you, because if you are in your body, you are intimate. There's no much separation between the two people. Just so you know. It's something to do this evening.

So, when you're aware of your breathing, you're present in your body, because you know the thinking business, a lot of folks -- by a lot of folks I mean me, too -- live up here. In fact, we can also live maybe even out of our bodies, actually. Trauma makes that happen. But just thinking, we can be in our heads. Do you ever notice somebody walking and they're leading with their head? That means that they're not really -- they're not in their body. They're in their head thinking. You can walk from here to your car and not even notice.

So, awareness of breath puts us in our body. Awareness of thoughts brings the mind and the body together. They become one instead of separate, warring factions. Aware of breath, posture, and watching the activity of the mind.

Now, also there's a thing about the Buddha was clear about opening the senses. Opening, not closing them down. Often when you see somebody meditating, you know, maybe they're really doing the right thing. I don't know. All I know is the Zen approach, which is it's not to -- well, one of my favorite movies was Karate Kid. Karate Kid 1, because I really liked Pat Morita and Mr. Miyagi, you know? And I only had one problem with that movie, which I thought was just terrific, was that they showed him mediating in his room in front of a butsudan, an altar, and he was sitting there going, “Mmmmm.” And I went, what the hell is that?

That's kind of like a popular version, I think, of what some folks think meditation is, zoning out. Zoning out. No. That's not Buddhist meditation. Buddhist meditation is opening out, so that when you sit in zazen, you keep your eyes slightly open. It's not like you're looking at something, but you're letting your eye do what it does, which is to see. You open your ears. You feel your body. Pain helps. It's a great focus. You hear people's cell phones everywhere. Incidentally, in India I was amazed that everybody -- everybody -- had a cell phone. Every kid pretty much had a cell phone, and the grown-ups, of course. So, they are a part of our bodies now.

So, to open, to open the senses. And another thing in watching the thoughts, you'll notice after a while that every now and then, there's a space between the thoughts, where nothing's happening. We usually don't like that. We don't like nothing happening. It's kind of scary. And actually, if you keep watching it, you can actually increase the gap between the thoughts. You learn how to practice what Dogen called non-thinking. He said, “Practice non-thinking.” And then a question, “How do you practice not thinking?” And he said, “Non-thinking. By practicing non-thinking.”

So, in that practicing, you'll notice that the gaps get a little larger and that if you look really close at those gaps, they're actually windows, and if you look through the window, you see the nature of your mind, which is big, which is everything else. Thoughts are these little things that the mind produces like bubbles, but they occur in the vastness of our mind, of mind -- not ours, but mind. So, that's a neat thing. It's very settling.

The other thing you do with practice is to stop the stories, so when the stories start, the practice is just notice it, to bring it to a gentle halt, and go back to the breathing. It can persist, and when it does, we just gently halt, go back to the breathing, go back into the body, not residing slowly in the head. Yeah.

So, the Buddha's recipe for suffering was to remove the fuel. If something is causing us suffering, he says, “Find out the cause, and remove it.” Just remove it, which is easy, I guess, when you live in a monastery where there are 350 rules. That pretty much keeps you out of most ditches. So, those of us who are not in monastic practice, it's a little more difficult.

So, like with AA, for example. AA is a very good example of successful spiritual training. It says, “OK. You have recognized you have a problem, that you have no power over it, so the first thing we want you to do is to remove the cause of the suffering,” which is the alcohol in that case. And then the rest, of course, is hard, hard work.

Let's see.

Dogen, the Zen master Dogen, he said that to study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to see the true nature of the self, which is to see that you are an interconnected part of the whole universe. So, this study of the self, the little self -- we have a big Self. We also have a little self. The little self's the ego. Remember? It's only this big, but thinks it's the whole show? We study this. We study it. And you may have noticed something that Trungpa, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche -- he said that self-awareness is one insult after another. Have you noticed that when you really study yourself, it's sometimes horrific? Certainly surprising and wonderful and marvelous at the same time. So, when we sit on these cushions, what you're actually studying is yourself. You're not really studying anything or anybody else, because there's no separation.

So, how do we keep from this wonderful aspiration to benefit all beings, which is at the core of who we are? How do we not fall back into selfishness and self-centeredness, which is detrimental to oneself and to others? Well, we do it right from the beginning. The technique we use is taking refuge, which you did, we did, just a little while ago. We take refuge in order to remember who we really are as followers of the Way. It's called the Way, capital W. It opens us from this little, tiny self. It reminds us that there's something much bigger that contains this little self, even though it's actually a complete fabrication. But the whole self holds it tenderly. Tenderly.

So, we take refuge in the Buddha, which is not necessarily a statue or a person long ago, 2,500 years ago, but actually the Buddha is the true nature of all things. Incidentally, when you're reading anything Buddhist, when you see the word “Buddha,” replace it with the word “reality.” I think what you're reading will make more sense. So, when we take refuge in the Buddha, we are taking refuge. We are fleeing for the safety of the true nature of things. Taking refuge in the Buddha means to continually return to the vast stillness of our deepest nature, our true self. This is the stillness of the awakened, all-embracing heart, which tenderly and fearlessly accepts all that arises in life. When we take refuge in Buddha, we fully know this awakened heart deep within us, and we can trust it.

Then we take refuge in the dharma. Dharma means many things. It can mean the teaching. It can mean a particle of existence. Of course, there are no particles, but it's a particle of existence. For us, dharma is the truth of existence. To take refuge in dharma is to continually return to the present moment, to what's actually happening here and now, not worrying about the past or feeling guilty about the past or worrying about the future. Both of those actually don't exist when you think about it. All there is is the present moment, and there's not much of that.

So, to take refuge in the dharma is to take refuge in the present moment. It is a willingness to forgo self-centeredness, a willingness to meet everything that arises with an open mind and a forgiving heart.

And the last thing we do is to take refuge in the sangha. Sangha just means group or crowd. That would be us, in this case. We take refuge in each other. We take refuge in our common humanity. To take refuge in the sangha is to continually return to the community of those who have followed the Way by studying their own greed, hate, and delusion, and who have realized that to truly know the self is to know the other, that to truly know the other is to know the self, and in the end, to know that there is neither self nor other, which is the end of suffering.

I wanted to end with what another Zen teacher said about who we truly are. I wanted to know. I hope you do, too. I think he says it pretty good. He says that -- his name is Ezra Bayda, by the way. He said that when we bring a gentle awareness to the layers of our conditioning -- conditioning, the training that we've had to be who we are or who we should be. Oftentimes it's who we shouldn't be, or whatever we are, we shouldn't be that way. You know, that kind of training. When we bring our gentle awareness to the layers of our conditioning and to the struggles that arise out of that conditioning, the power of that conditioning slowly dissipates. Love then moves toward the unconditioned, where the vastness of love just flows through. Our true nature is love. This is where we can see that we are more than just the thoughts, more than just the body, that this very body-mind is the vastness and is a unique manifestation of the vastness.

You know we're made of stardust? There's nothing out there that's not in us. So each of you is a unique, irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind representation of the whole shebang. I think of it in my mind as each of us is an extrusion of the universe, you know, like toothpaste. An extrusion. We are it and the unique expression of it. As the curtain of separation lifts, we begin to know what life really is. We come to see that the purpose of human life is to become awake to who we truly are, which is the vastness itself, no longer limited to the notion of a separate little self. From this place of connectedness, we understand that our deepest wish is to live more openly from the heart, and we also understand that saying yes to life means saying yes to everything, even the hard parts.

So, I think when you sit again, to maybe remember that key to unleashing or to unlocking, freeing love, the loving-kindness that is within us. It is to develop and cultivate the curiosity of an open mind and the tenderness of a forgiving heart. Thank you very much.

Transcribed by Jessica Hitch

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