30. Delusion

A principal way in which we maintain ourselves in delusion is imagining that our life and practice should be something other than it is. We locate delusion in the wrong place. We imagine that our transient thoughts and emotions are obstacles, and if somehow we got rid of them, we wouldn’t be deluded any more.

But this is precisely the idea that is the engine of delusion. When Dogen says that delusion is carrying the self forward to experience the myriad things, and realisation is the myriad things expressing and experiencing themselves. By ‘myriad things,’ he doesn’t just mean trees walls and sky. He means everything, including our thoughts.

If we obsess on our thoughts, it is as if we take all the light and concentrate it on that, so that everything else – the body, the senses, the breath – is in darkness. Throwing the light over all experience makes the dualism of thought and world impossible to sustain. We see the tremor and evanescence of our thoughts as one aspect of our aliveness, which is to say, the aliveness of everything.