Sitting quietly this morning, within oneself, listening, sensing, observing, breathing. The sun is just touching the mountain tops to the west and, in the distance, a noisy truck can be heard shifting through its gears as it climbs into the hills.
Out of the open listening comes a question: ‘Who sees and hears these things?’ It is a gentle wondering, a question one has asked a million times with always the same answer and always the same surprise: No one does. There is actually no one doing anything! Everything is just happening, effortlessly on its own.
There is, quite clearly, no questioner, no listener, and no seer and yet, there is questioning, listening, and seeing, all occurring in what can only be described as empty space. Is it really possible? Is it possible that everything comes from nothing at all? Ha!
What is it that reads, thinks, and understands? Have you ever sat quietly and wondered, like a child, without expecting an answer? Have you ever touched the beauty of not-knowing? Have you ever come upon the exquisite freedom, the feeling of release from the lifelong burden of an imagined ‘me’?
Gratitude, deep peace, and love arising this morning, like the sun lighting up the mountains. Not for anything in particular, in fact, it arises from nowhere for nothing at all. It is simply what we are in the absence of self-concern.
-Ojai, CA 9/30/20
Mike Styler is an old friend who teaches Zen in Ojai, CA