“Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves
without rushing toward the future.
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Limit your activity to be infinity
My Comment: This is a statement of one of the great paradoxes of Truth. Nowadays there is much talk of ‘multi-dimensionality’ and expanding your consciousness, etc. To say that the way to infinity is through limiting your activity sounds like nonsense. When we consider that our present state of consciousness is highly fragmented and that consciousness is always the content of consciousness, then we may see things differently. The tremendous inflation of the content of consciousness that many are presently experiencing may be one of the reasons for so much confusion and lack of quality of presence. Many of us recognize that consciousness has one source and that there is actually only one consciousness, not ‘my consciousness’ and ‘your consciousness’. The quality of our conscious presence needs to reflect this.
Excerpt from the August 2015 COBRA interview with Lynn from ‘Prepare For Change’:
Lynn: “What is consciousness?”
COBRA: “Consciousness is actually a dynamic interaction between spirit and matter. It is actually the intersection between spirit and matter. It is the spirit which begins to be aware of itself as matter which connects back with itself.”
Lynn: “. . . How is consciousness and spirit connected?”
COBRA: “Actually, spirit at one point decided to project itself into matter and consciousness is born as a result of that interaction.”
This shows that the essential characteristic of consciousness is to reflect its own state back to itself when in the state of matter. Consciousness is a reflection of the quality of spirit when projected into matter; not simply the content of consciousness, but the quality with which that content is reflected back to spirit. Therefore, the less fragmented this reflection is, the more spirit‘s quality as it reflects back to itself is free of fragmentation or distortion. Like an intact mirror’s reflection as compared to what is reflected by a shattered mirror. When our focus is limited to the content of consciousness we are likely to miss the essential point, which is the quality of our consciousness. These are merely descriptions of the dynamic of the process of consciousness and one must enter into this dynamic with inner awareness in order to realize for oneself what this description attempts to outline.
In the excerpt below the Zen master Shunryu Suzuki explains from his point of view how this dynamic works. He starts off by stating how one is to practice without having any goal. Not having any goal is important as any goal or motive will limit one’s consciousness to that which the mind can project from past experience drawing on impressions in our memory. In other words it is important to be open to that which is beyond the known.
“The way to practice without having any goal is to limit your activity, or to be concentrated on what you are doing in this moment. Instead of having some particular object in mind, you should limit your activity. When your mind is wandering about elsewhere you have no chance to express yourself. But if you limit your activity to what you can do just now, in this moment, then you can express fully your true nature, which is the universal Buddha nature. This is our way.
“When we practice zazen we limit our activity to the smallest extent. Just keeping the right posture and being concentrated on sitting is how we express the universal nature. Then we become Buddha, and we express Buddha nature. So instead of having some object of worship, we just concentrate on the activity which we do in each moment. When you bow, you should just bow; when you sit, you should just sit; when you eat, you should just eat. If you do this, the universal nature is there. In Japanese we call it ichigyo-zammai, or ‘one-act samadhi.’ Sammai (or samadhi) is ‘concentration.’ Ichigyo is ‘one practice.’”
(Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, P. 75)
Ichigyo-zammai is found in other traditions as ‘one-pointedness’, but the understanding in Zen gives us the sense of concentrating the essence of one’s consciousness simply on any act that one finds oneself doing right at the moment. It actually frees the mind from its fragmented state and opens up the possibility to experience oneself as infinity at any moment, and moment after moment after moment.
Since we are strongly under the influence of our ‘habit energy’, and generally speaking our habitual mode of perception is to allow ourselves to be seduced into gobbling up more and more ‘information’, tempering this habit through ‘practice’ can be useful. We can kick the addiction to information in favor of depth of perception, but this does mean creating new mental, emotional and spiritual habits of perception through persistent practice in inner awareness.
As William Blake’s famous lines state:
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
William Blake, excerpt from “Auguries of Innocence”