We all think we are aware; that is one of our unawarenesses. We are only functionally aware.
We have learned to do things, to go to bed, to get up early in the morning, to go to the job. Everything has been learned. Even a robot can do the whole process. You are not needed. And that’s exactly what has happened to humanity. It is a robot humanity. You have learned everything that is necessary and given it to your robot mind who goes on doing things on your behalf. And giving the charge to the mind you have gone to sleep.
The whole effort of the buddhas is to bring out your consciousness and to make you clearly aware of the distinction between functioning consciousness and a pure consciousness which has no function, just a mirror. The mirror has no function, it has utility, but even while you are looking in the mirror, the mirror does not do anything. The reflection is spontaneous. Even if you don’t want the reflection, still it will reflect – and the mirror is not in need of you to stand before it.
The way Zen expresses it is this: The full moon shines in the lake. Neither the full moon desires to be reflected – but it is reflected – nor does the lake want to reflect it, but it does reflect it. Both are not at all doing any active work in this reflection. Both are just being themselves and the reflection comes on its own accord. You do your things and only in doing your things can you separate the functioning consciousness and the pure consciousness.
When you walk, do you know you are walking? When you are silent, are you aware that you are silent? When you are eating, is there any awareness standing by the side, watching your function of eating? That awareness is the great enlightenment. It has no function, it has no utility, it is not a means to some end. It is enough unto itself. It is such a contentment, such deep satisfaction with oneself and the cosmos, such a strong let-go, that you don’t have to do anything. Just being is more than you can have conceived – the joy of just being, the blissfulness of just being.
I pass every day Mukta’s pond, and those two swans are just twenty-four hours a day enjoying, doing nothing. And they look so dignified, so utterly contented… not even a shadow around them of any desire or any ambition, or of any position, of any success. All those are stupid things. They are enjoying every moment, just sitting in the pond.
A consciousness is just like what Basho calls, “Sitting silently, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.” What he is saying is, “As far as I am concerned, I am not doing anything, neither am I desiring anything. The spring comes on its own accord, uninvited. The grass starts growing without any effort on my part. I am just a watcher, sitting silently, doing nothing.”
This non-doing awareness, which has no function in the world but is simply a blissfulness, an ecstasy, a drunkenness utterly centered in the present moment… That is the whole idea of the buddhas: to make you aware that something is hiding inside you. But because it is of no use, you don’t care about it.
The world consists of utility, and your consciousness is of no utility. You cannot earn by it, you cannot sell it, you cannot do anything by it. It is not a doing energy. It is simply being – a being energy that stands just like an Everest, silently, for centuries.
Excerpt from Isan: No Footprints in the Blue Sky, Chapter Six
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