We often take ‘the internal dialogue’ that we experience when sitting at face value. And when we do, it can seem to be one of the main obstacles to practice. It is like an idiot, babbling repetitive nonsense. We can easily think, “That’s delusion”
But there’s a greater idiot—the person who is yearning for the babbling idiot to shut up. That’s delusion. It’s delusion because when we’re caught up in that process, the vitality and dignity of the huge spacious room of practice is unseen. Though the window is opened there, the pain and beauty of the world is unseen.
Charlotte Joko Beck said when we practised, we created a bigger container. It’s a very seductive thing to say. But the problem with that perspective is that it’s still wedded to a model of practice as acceptance, equanimity, and tranquillity. Getting some distance from the idiot.
Yet if we think in those terms, it is impossible for us to understand zazen in terms of aliveness and joy.
What we need to understand is that the apparent nonsense itself is interdependence. The echoes and tremors of interdependence. We don’t have to go looking for Indra’s net. It was here all the time.
We think that all our nonsense is like a crumpled up piece of paper which we either need to burn away or smooth out, so the meaning, the writing on the paper is clear. If we can smooth it out, everything will be ordered, as if for the first time. The self, radiant and unburdened, in a tranquil world within time, will appear.
Except it never will, because crumpledness is the original nature. That’s what we need to get clear. The jumbledness, the juxtaposition of everything next to everything. That’s intimacy. That’s interdependence.