One thing we find during the course of meditation practice is that we have erected many ‘idea walls’ which, upon closer inspection, prove to be illusory. They make a little bit of intellectual sense if we don’t examine them closely but when we put them under the microscope of awareness they vanish because they were only ideas about reality and not reality itself.
Time, matter, experience, objectivity and subjectivity are five such ideas that we talk about but, in reality, none exist without the other and, in fact, they operate only together at one time, in one place and as one thing. They are all just parts of one happening, happening always here and now. If we just consider this another neat idea and move on then it does not help us much. However, if this unification is truly realized then the entire meaning of existence is changed for us.
If someone were to say to you “I know how to separate time from myself and my experience, and I can also separate my subjective existence from objective existence and I can also separate myself from the world and everyone else,” you might think about this for a minute and then conclude “Um… no. None of this stuff can be separated and it is just fantasy to think so.” And yet when we look at our conventional motivations, level of awareness and behavior we see that, in one way or another, we spend literally all of our lives dreaming about separate things which can never be separated!
Humanity’s main superpower, if it be considered one, is the ability to mentally depart so radically from the fundamental, unified truth of this moment that we miraculously separate what cannot be separated with truly amazing perceptual acrobatics. We create a psychedelic hall of mirrors which breaks apart our unified existence into something only distantly related to the one happening of self, time, matter and space. We are so lost in this dream and are so habituated to perceiving everything through the distorted lens of separation that I am confident these words probably just serve as a small reminder of our forgotten reality at best… So well hidden in plain sight is this truth of unification that even now, as it is openly discussed, the mind continues right on dreaming without a break!
Terms such as relative and absolute reality which are used in Buddhism are ultimately false because there is only one reality. When Buddhists use the term relative reality, what they point to is the refracted and separated view of mankind which is in no way reality, yet due to the impossibility of separating the perceiver from the perceived, paradoxically constitutes reality. For our reality to change, we must change. The wisdom of impermanence, interdependence and emptiness is only an intellectual hook that has the potential to catch and corral our refracted mind, but it is only through samadhi that we come to be the unification of all things in this moment which renders whatever intellectual wisdom we thought we had a joke. This is why there is no enlightenment without practice and why we share the Buddha’s enlightenment from the very first moment we sit. The act of sitting, or Zazen, is unification itself.
When we realize that time, matter, world, subjective experience and objective experience are all one happening and obviously cannot ever be separated, we find the zero point, the point where we stop wishing we were somewhere else because we realize that we are this. At the zero point, where we and this is recognized as one happening, big problems, which never really existed at all, get resolved. Our practice is bearing the most immediate fruit and experiencing this zero point on the cushion is a type of non-dual samadhi which begins to change us into that which can abide as we truly are, at the zero point.
And this is why every spiritual saying or truth, such as manifestation or self or ego or soul or God or synchronicity or evolution or anything else is all complete non-sense. The self cannot be anything but what it is right now for it is literally one with time and it is only through temporal existence that a self exists or could possibly come to know itself at all. Everything you think you’re doing or being or becoming at every point along the path is a fantasy, all a radical departure from the zero point. Path, seeker, world, person – all of these things are but a split and refracted interpretation of the fundamental, unified happening which is always as close as our nose and our eye balls, the rustling tre.
(See also non-dual awareness)