Do I only feel alive when there is stimulation of some kind? Another person in the same room with me stimulates me to talk and communicate on many levels. Thoughts about what I see is ‘going on in the world’ through the Internet stimulates me to have more thoughts and to express myself through the Internet. The spoken and written word of Zen masters and other sages that I read or hear on recordings stimulate me to examine my current state of mind. A cup of coffee or a glass of wine stimulates me, gives me a boost in vital energy for a short while. Watching the squirrels try to reach the suet cage hanging from the limb of the tree catches my attention and I watch carefully with great interest.
I am not implying that all this ‘should not be’ – no, I am just observing that it is so. Is my sense of being really dependent on all of these exterior circumstances so that I may feel alive and awake? Can I not awaken without any just by the fact of the vital energy pulsing through my veins?
It seems to require an inward ‘turning around’ to face that simple sense of being that is free of any frame of reference either physical or of ideas. It is not dependent on any stimulation. In doing this I am turning 180 degrees to face the stream of existence rather than allowing it to pull me into its current downstream.
When I then re-enter the flow of creation from the source into all the myriad forms that it incessantly manifests, can I remain rooted in that place that is not carried away by any stimulation? Can I at least notice how I am lured by so many stimulants? A political opinion lures me into an exchange, if not in real-time, then surely in my own mind. A memory of a past injustice that was done to me or that I did to another opens up a whole movie inside of me. Words of a master telling of great equanimity and compassion fill me with peace and a warm feeling. How much of this is real? Can I divest myself of all illusions created by words, desires and experiences and rest in that place of total acceptance of simply what is here, now?