As It Is

The filters of our habitual mind are so pervasive we rarely peek behind the curtain and see what is in front of us. The practice of my tradition suggests ways of dropping the veil, to see things just as they are. As I drove past a new neighborhood development this morning, I noticed the filters of my mind making judgements about growth in this town we call Bend. By the time I passed the last house under construction, I experienced a moment of clarity.

The foundation and framed walls of the house disappeared into neutrality. I saw wood and concrete inseparable from forest and stone, sky and land. The moment dawned in a different way with nothing moving in a sea of emotions—just primal observation, like an alien landing on a foreign world and seeing something for the first time. All the while I have the presence of mind to drive safely—the most important thing.

Now, as I write this, I notice my mind wanting to assign some significance to this event, and I hear Buddha laughing. If I looked at the world of my senses from the point of view of the middle way, I would see all things free from the extremes of attachment and aversion, desire and hatred. I would have no need to assign any significance because it is just the way I would experience life from the natural unfiltered mind.

If someone were to ask me how I momentarily let go of the judgment mind, I could honestly say, “I do not know.” The moment was free of knowing, naming, and negation. It is a natural way of seeing and being, more akin to my indigenous ancestors and all the buddhas. It is very liberating.

My teachers often told me, “If you notice yourself settling into the natural mind, just continue in that.” This was their primary instruction about meditation. So, if you notice a moment of clarity, seeing a thing just as it is, continue in that. This is the primary practice upon which all the formal practices rest.

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