When I chose the name for our Dharma center 25 years ago, I reflected on how mind and nature are interconnected. The Buddhist teachings seem to reflect that connection by suggesting the natural flow of awareness is like a stream, capable of fluid and patient adaptability. The Vajrayana version of Buddhism offers a method for re-entering our innate fluidity through realizing the original unfettered mind. We directly engage our coarse perception and then relax into the true nature of the one who perceives.
But it is all too common for us to become overly identified with method and miss the point entirely. We can practice for years and not remember who we are. We remain immersed in habit patterns, rarely experiencing moments of freedom. The most insidious pattern is the idea of awakening to some enlightened way of being, an imagined state outside our usual experience. This becomes the fundamental obstacle.
To liberate that obstacle, we remember that awakening is simple as opening our eyes and taking a breath. The path of re-awakening to our original nature is not a path and we never left. Ultimately, there is nothing to remember and nothing to awaken. Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481), an itinerant Zen master and poet said it this way:
We’re lost, born in delusion deeper than any mind
If you could escape awakening—you’d ripen like a pear all by itself
Very natural …