One is all there is
This is the first Sutra I wrote for my TAO-TE-zen program, but I was moved to share it with you today. Hopefully it inspires you to flex your spiritual muscles a bit and think about your relationships in a new light.
Native people living in the wild developed an intimate relationship with Mother Earth. They were also very conscious of the moon, the sun, and the stars, for they came to realize that these larger “bodies” regulated the seasons. They knew, with every fiber of their being, that they could not live without water, earth, sun, and air – and all these realities changed with the seasons.
When indigenous people had challenges they could not solve, they looked to other sources of wisdom (“beings”) who in turn gave them knowledge they could not find on their own. They worshiped trees, fire, the lingam and yoni. The moon, the planets and the stars were respected as “gods” and nature spirits were “deified,” for they were the harbinger of mystery and bringers of life – life we could not create ourselves.
Expanding on One is all there is
1. Native people living in the wild developed an intimate relationship with Mother Earth. They were also very conscious of the moon, the sun, and the stars, for they came to realize that these larger “bodies” regulated the seasons. They knew, with every fiber of their being, that they could not live without water, earth, sun, and air – and all these realities changed with the seasons.
2. Prior to the advent of modern religions, which took root about 5,000 years ago, we deified and worshiped Mother Nature. We knew from observation and experience that though we were “alive,” we could not create or sustain life without the support of life itself. Therefore, we naturally respected and worshiped all the elements of nature that were inextricably linked to creating and supporting life. We knew that our life was utterly dependent upon the lives and offerings of other living beings, and that they too were dependent upon such deities as the earth, the sun, the moon, and the basic elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether)1 from which creation as we know it is made.
What do human beings worship today, especially in modern Western culture? With a primary investment into “ideas” of what “Is”, what has our deviation toward worshiping “the word” of God brought us that has any meaning what-so-ever in absence of the essential bodies and beings of nature? What can your money buy when there is no food or water? How will your life change when there are no longer any seasons? Can you live that way? What will happen to other life-forms?
3. When indigenous people had challenges they could not solve, they looked to other sources of wisdom (“beings”) who in turn gave them knowledge they could not find on their own. They worshiped trees, fire, the lingam and yoni. The moon, the planets and the stars were respected as “gods” and nature spirits were “deified,” for they were the harbinger of mystery and bringers of life – life we could not create ourselves.
4. A study of shamanism reveals that in almost every account, shamans reported that besides learning from their predecessor, they learned how to make their medicines from relationships with the plant spirits and nature spirits at large. They did not possess the knowledge of how to create or support life optimally on their own and when taxed to help others, they were wise enough to turn to Mother Nature for council. They saw an “order” to all things created and knew intuitively that Nature in its creative aspect itself is the storehouse of wisdom.
With this wisdom and teaching, Native shamans encouraged us to worship what supports life and to act in accordance with “life principles.” To act in accordance with life principles is the essential meaning of morality. A moral is a principle that supports life. Ethics are merely codes of conducts and are often executed without any respect for morals. Illness and disease are the physical expression of imbalances from not living life-affirming principles. The shamans saw that in most cases, illness and diseases resulted from wrong action when viewed through the eyes of living morally, which to them meant to live in any way that is out of balance with the laws of Nature. Because they were successful at gaining wisdom and restoring health through applying the teachings passed to them by nature divas, they became progressively more tuned to the subtle realm of higher-truths – those truths outside the realm of human ego-consciousness.
We can all learn how to do this and in so doing we share our own wisdom - our living knowledge - with all others in our tribe before disease sets in and before we have disenfranchised our relationship with ALL that IS. Humanity is one tribe, seemingly separate from Nature, yet at the same time one with her. Seeking harmony with Nature has been found to be the greatest source of health and wisdom ever known. Why wait until you are tired and can’t think or be still to attempt to take counsel with that very soft voice that rises in you as it does in all life just the same?
5. Today, scientists peer into nature through electron microscopes, atom colliders, and mathematical formulae only to find that inside, it is All connected. When looking through telescopes, they find that nature expands to match their conscious inquiry. The result, we now have re-affirmation that no matter which way you go – smaller – or BIGGER – we are ALL ONE – ONE IS ALL THERE IS.
6. Modern science is now bringing the religious and the atheists together through an incredible weave of truth. The greatest minds of science are proving that regardless which direction one looks —to the microscopic or the macroscopic—it all leads to NO-THING. Whatever it is that you are looking for, if you go deeper, or wider, or higher, to the end of your abilities to comprehend, you come to the impasse of unknowing. This is called “The Mystery” in metaphysics. Exploring the mystery always leads to conscious realization of the Absolute Oneness - the Unity of all life and creation as One Living Being. All things perceptible to the ego-mind appear as “countable,” yet as one learns to use spiritual vision such ego-definitions lose their borders and barriers becoming aspects of The One. All life sustains itself on life. This is the meaning of the Uroborus—the snake that eats its own tail.
7. Practice seeing “wholeness” in and around you. Treat nature as “thy self” and you will never feel alone again.
TAO-TE-zen practice is one in which the practitioner lives and worships as part of a living being. The practice is one of respect and gratitude for life and as such, the TAO-TE-zen practitioner treats all living beings with the love and respect they give their own hands, mouth and stomach. We live and act with the knowledge that whatever we do to others, we do to ourselves. In zen, there are no excuses, only reality. By practicing zen, we live tuned to reality, not in conflict with it.
By taking stock of when and how pain has occurred in your life, you can begin to see and take responsibility for your own contribution to that pain. In so doing, you can account for and rectify your own imbalances. Living zen makes you your own gardener and your life your garden. If you live zen, your garden is always a beautiful place to be. If not, you are forever fighting weeds. In nature, weeds are both teachers and healers of life. Can you learn from your weeds? Pulling them up by the roots leaves your garden more room for the fruits of life. Cutting their tops off out of laziness or passive ignorance only leads to the appearance of an attended garden. Yet, before you can call it a day they are already showing you where you’ve been negligent.
Zen practice is honoring the garden as the gardener. ONE IS ALL THERE IS.