EMBRACING THE UNKNOWN
Look out on any natural scene; the seashore, a forest, space, your own back yard. Most people look out on these views and think of them as something “out there”. What I have known all along, is that vast and wild nature, is also “in here”. Very much “in here”. There truly is no separation. Everyone knows this deep, deep down. And it scares the holy living daylights out of most people. Because to quote Osho, “The real ‘god’ is very wild. The real ‘god’ is very crazy. And the real ‘god’ cannot be controlled.” Think about this, really think about it. These are the forces that create life, that paint incredibly beautiful sunsets, that keep the planets in their orbits, that make tornadoes, that bring death, that make birds sing, that send asteroids hurtling through space, etc and etc. Very powerful. And they are not only “out there”, they are also “in here”. We can’t control them and we can’t get away from them, ever.
So what do we do? Well first we deny that they exist “in here”. Then we project them outside ourselves. Denial and projection are partners. We make nice churches and temples, usually very quiet and sedate and calm, in the illusion we can contain these vast and powerful forces, to make them safe, or rather to make ourselves feel safe in their presence. Human beings project these forces outside themselves and personify them. So indeed, “god” did not create us in his image, we created “god” in our image! Presto! you got religion. We fancy we can communicate with a being like ourselves, if much more powerful. We fancy we can ask for mercy, forgiveness, forbearence. We bring it down and down, and make it smaller and smaller, until all the real juice is gone out of it, and there’s nothing left but a petty tyrant smiting and throwing plagues at us. Or until it’s dry and dessicated and meaningless. Or, as is most often the case, until “religion” becomes a political organization. . . . I think we all know the results of that.
We really don’t know. Oh, we think we do, we want to believe we do. But we don’t know. We don’t know what life is, or gravity or consciousness or electricity, etc and etc. We name things, and we “measure” them. We know what they do and how they behave (mostly). But a thing is not its name, or its measurements! It’s itself! We rely on our perceptions, but our perceptions are biased because we only have one lens (the human one) to look through. And our perceptions can be oh so wrong. The earth is not flat, the sun is not the center of the universe, sickness does not come from evil spirits.
Now comes Zen. Zen says, “Yup, it’s both “out there” and “in here”, that’s you. . . . that’s reality. . . .you can’t get away from it no matter what you do. You can’t put it into words. You will never figure it out. . . . so maybe we ought to learn to deal with it on it’s own terms. . . ”
© Babaloo Bonzai and Babaloo Bonzai’s Zen Soup, 2010.