By Thich Nhat Hanh
We are here to awaken from the illusion of separateness ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
The following is a short excerpt from a 1998 Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, entitled The Island of Self: The Three Dharma Seals. Here he explains how awareness of the interdependence of all things in the universe can provide us with deeper insight into the Buddha’s teachings on non-self, emptiness and impermanence.
“What is non-self, Anatta? It means impermanence. If things are impermanent, they don’t remain the same things forever. You of this moment are no longer you of a minute ago. There is no permanent entity within us, there is only a stream of being.
There is always a lot of input and output. The input and the output happen in every second, and we should learn how to look at life as streams of being, and not as separate entities. This is a very profound teaching of the Buddha.
Inter-being with the world
For instance, looking into a flower, you can see that the flower is made of many elements that we can call non-flower elements. When you touch the flower, you touch the cloud. You cannot remove the cloud from the flower, because if you could remove the cloud from the flower, the flower would collapse right away. You don’t have to be a poet in order to see a cloud floating in the flower, but you know very well that without the clouds there would be no rain and no water for the flower to grow.
So cloud is part of flower, and if you send the element cloud back to the sky, there will be no flower. Cloud is a non-flower element. And the sunshine…you can touch the sunshine here. If you send back the element sunshine, the flower will vanish. And sunshine is another non-flower element.
And earth, and gardener… if you continue, you will see a multitude of non-flower elements in the flower. In fact, a flower is made only with non-flower elements. It does not have a separate self.
So the true nature of the flower is the nature of inter-being, the nature of no self.
A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower has to “inter-be” with everything else that is called non-flower. That is what we call inter-being. You cannot be, you can only inter-be. The word inter-be can reveal more of the reality than the word “to be.” You cannot be by yourself alone, you have to inter-be with everything else. The flower is there, beautiful, fragrant, yes, but the flower is empty of a separate self. To be empty is not a negative note. Nagarjuna, of the second century, said that because of emptiness, everything becomes possible.
Looking into the nature of your non-self
So a flower is described as empty. But I like to say it differently. A flower is empty only of a separate self, but a flower is full of everything else. The whole cosmos can be seen, can be identified, can be touched, in one flower. So to say that the flower is empty of a separate self also means that the flower is full of the cosmos.
It’s the same thing. So you are of the same nature as a flower: you are empty of a separate self, but you are full of the cosmos. You are as wonderful as the cosmos, you are a manifestation of the cosmos.
So non-self is another guide that Buddha offers us in order for us to successfully practice looking deeply. What does it mean to look deeply? Looking deeply means to look in such a way that the true nature of impermanence and non-self can reveal themselves to you.
Looking into yourself, looking into the flower, you can touch the nature of impermanence and the nature of non-self, and if you can touch the nature of impermanence and non-self deeply, you can also touch the nature of nirvana, which is the Third Dharma Seal.”
“All in One, One in All. The All melts into a single whole. There are no divisions in the totality of reality… It views the cosmos as holy, as “one bright pearl,” the universal reality of the Buddha..” The view of inter-being and interpenetration is central to the Huayan School of Buddhism.
by Dr. Alberto Villoldo,
The Four Winds
Whether you realize it or not, we are all dreaming the world into being, although most people have lost the ability to guide the dream, and are, as a result, at the mercy of the collective nightmare.
The Shaman lives in a dream, but not the kind of dream that belongs in the domain of sleep. Shamans understand the waking dream, and can change the dream by changing their relationship with the luminous strands that make up the energetic realm. This is how creation happens.
The aborigines of Australia believe that it was in dreamtime that the world was created, and follow the dream lines when they go on a vision quest. For the shaman in the Americas, the task is to dream with their eyes open – to envision the possible before they envision the probable. It’s not a fantasy or hallucination, but rather the ultimate nature of reality itself, where one can actually steer and guide the dream.
The dream me – the creative matrix– does not exist in a place outside of us, but rather within. It infuses all matter and energy, connecting every creature, every rock, every star, and every ray of light or bit of cosmic dust. For the Earthkeepers, dreaming reality is not only an ability but a duty, one we must perform with grace and love so our grandchildren will inherit a world of peace and abundance.
Students of shamanism learn how to awaken the ability to dream with their eyes open and share in the power to co-create reality with the help of the Universe. As they begin to flex the muscles of courage, they let go of their limiting beliefs and push past their fears. They can then begin to create truly original dreams that germinate in the soul and bear fruit in their life. The nature of the cosmos is such that whatever dream you have about yourself and the world will become reality.
The shamans I studied with in the Andes and the Amazon believe that we can only access this power by raising our level of consciousness. When we do so, we become aware that we’re like a drop of water in a vast, divine ocean, distinct yet immersed in something much larger than ourselves. It’s only when we experience our connection to Infinity that we’re able to dream powerfully.
But it requires a visceral understanding to experience it in every cell of our body. In fact, the intellectual understanding of our ability to create reality forestalls the kind of dreaming we’re capable of. If we don’t get beyond the mere intellectual aspect, we’ll end up lowering the bar and creating a far less glorious and beautiful experience than we’re capable of crafting.
Although the mind resists it, the fact is we all have a choice between having the life we want or creating the reasons why we can’t have that life. You can have joy and peace, or you can have that big black bag full of all the sorrowful incidents and accidents that happened to you in your childhood or in your last relationship.
You can have your wounds, or you can have your glory. You can live the life of a victim, burdened by the traumas of your past, or you can live the life of a hero. But you can’t do both. If you want to feel empowered, you need to make a conscious decision to dream a sacred dream and practice courage.
Love is an energy field, a resonance, a frequency, which functions as a carrier wave to deliver all our messages to our self, others and to the planet.
Unconditional Love is a silent language.
We are all familiar with fear as a carrier wave, as well as anger, for when we come into the energy, frequency and emotion of fear, our hair stands up on the back of our necks, adrenaline rushes through our system, and we become hyper-vigilant to find the source.
We feel fear as a shout because it activates our fight/flight response and puts us on alert. On the other hand, unconditional love is a whisper, a soft cool breeze, a feeling of peace, and a sense of wellbeing.
Everything in our body alerts us to fear in order to prepare our biological systems for battle, but what prepares us for love? It is understandable why we are afraid of fear, but why are so many of us afraid of love?
In fact, why is our reality so filled with fear, whereas love, especially unconditional love, is far too rare? The answer is “survival.” In our long sojourn through our third dimensional realities, we have learned that if we do not attend to fear, our lives can be endangered.
But who wants to live a life without love? Unfortunately, for many, love is fleeting at best. That is because it is often human, conditional love. Conditional love is filled with fear, anger, sorrow, and judgment.
These “conditions” for love arise from those that feel like they are trapped in the separation and limitation of the fourth dimension. On the other hand, Unconditional Love resonates to the frequency of the fifth dimension and beyond. Therefore, Unconditional Love is beyond the fourth dimensional limitations.
Unconditional Love is a gentle wind on a clear day and a warm breeze.
Unconditional love is a resonance of multidimensional frequencies that can adhere to any person, place, situation, or thing in any dimension in all the Cosmos.
Unconditional Love is the glue that holds all form together.
Unconditional Love is the healing force of Multiverse.
Most important, Unconditional Love is the silent language that can be shared with our self, others, and our planet to create calm, peace, unity, and knowing.
These Harvard Researchers Visited The Himalayas To Document Monks With “Supernatural” Abilities
The Spirit Science
The mental and spiritual disciplines of the Buddhist religion are internationally renowned for greatly extending the range of human abilities. These enhancend abilities look like superpowers to onlookers. One does not attain these powers by being bit by a radioactive bug or exposing yourself to crazy forms of gamma rays. The monks achieved these talents through years of structured mediation, guided exercise and spiritual conditioning.
The existence of ’supernatural’ powers are readily in Eastern culture. The Buddha not only expected his disciples to express these abilities but encouraged them to not become distracted by them. Some of these training techniques are known as siddhis, which is Sanskrit for ‘perfection. Some of the training methods look like include static dancing, drumming, praying, fasting, psychedelics, and more.
While advances in medical technology and theory have helped in unraveling the why and how of human potential, it’s advances in theoretical and quantum physics that have really helped tie all the pieces together.
Broadly speaking, although there are some differences, I think Buddhist philosophy and Quantum Mechanics can shake hands on their view of the world. We can see in these great examples the fruits of human thinking. Regardless of the admiration we feel for these great thinkers, we should not lose sight of the fact that they were human beings just as we are. (Dalai Lama) (source)
A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual. (source)
The Harvard School Of Medicine went to remote monasteries in the Himalayan mountains in the 1980′s. They performed many experiments and visually documented many of the events. Using a yoga technique known as‘g Tum-mo’, monks raised the temperatures in their extremities by as much as seventeen degree’s. g Tum-mo is a stress reduction technique that not only can increase temperatures but also lower the body’s metabolic rate by up to 64%.
Using this technique monks were able to be covered in several layers of cloth drenched in freezing cold water. They were supposed to dry the cloths in three hours, but the monks did it in one hour. Visually they did nothing but sit under the blankets and breathe. It is still a mystery how this happened but it revealed a lot about stress and it’s effects on the body. We finally gathered enough information to form specific questions about the connection between our minds and our bodies.
Innocence flows from a natural harmlessness, openness and pure intentions, unsullied by ulterior motives. The state of innocence has less to do with age than attitude; innocence springs from a heart that remains open to joy and wonder. Innocence, when guided by a firm faith in what is right, brings supreme success. Naiveté unanchored by an ability to discern right from wrong, on the other hand, brings misfortune.
The hallmark of innocence is a willingness to treat others with compassion and respect in a natural way. Those who possess a pure heart are best guided by their instincts and intuition. Thinking too much makes it difficult to hear the guidance of the heart, the suggestions of a clear intuition. Stay simple and be wary of cleverness.
As we grow, become more aware, and love, our thoughts and actions change as well. This is not only due to our goals changing but the resources we draw on become more productive. As we ‘wake’ to the world as it truly is, the truth of it all changes us from the core outward. We are still human so we still experience and project negativity, but the magnitude and length of time being negative changes. Here is a list of some of those emotions and concepts that you will naturally let go of as you reach higher levels of consciousness.
Anger and hate are sadly dominant aspects of our society. Anger is like a fire in our souls, that clouds our eyes with smoke and chokes up true expressions. The feeling from anger is nauseating and entirely destructive. After spending long enough in the presence of love, hatred makes us feel physically ill. The once perceived strength that comes from anger, is seen as one dimensional and unproductive.
Jealousy is a direct descendant of comparative thought. We look at what we have and compare it to another. We then judge the two parties off superficial elements. As we grow as people and fill our lives with love and works of compassion, we stop worrying about what others have. We acknowledge our own successes and failures as being precious and irreplaceable. This makes our mental and spiritual ‘belongings’ priceless. The joy attached to experiences and loved ones has shown us the flimsiness of the pursuit of physical objects. As we see others with a deeper understanding or a more powerfully expressed form of love, we are glad to have witnessed it. We are filled with joy at the success of others, because everyone deserves to be happy.
Fear Of Failure
For you to have built up your consciousness and prepare your tools of mindfulness, you have undoubtedly stumbled more than once. But as we grow older and wiser, we fear scrapped knees less and less. We know that that the harm of failure only extends as far as a lesson not learned. We welcome all opportunities of growth and knowledge. Our ‘tools’ wouldn’t be nearly so sharp if we never ‘sharpened’ them on suffering.
This thought child of comparative thought is normally one of the first negative formations to leave us. Insecurity can not prevail where there is acceptance, love and hope for the future. We remember that we are a perfect and constantly evolving form of beauty.
The future and past are nothing more than mysteries and stories. We don’t allow the unknown to cause us discomfort. We have faced it down many times and survived for the better.
If someone wrongs us, the natural urge at one point was to return the favor. As we conquer our own negative formations, we come to recognize the pain that fuels the antagonists in our life. We don’t hate them, we don’t want to inject more negativity into the world. Staying wary of potential harm, we avoid it or try to save it from the negativity of their actions.