It is in the space created during our personal practice that a dialogue opens, between our junior explorer and our mature Observer. What do we discover as we enter onto this path? Different traditions have different names for this phenomenon. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is the Stillpoint. In Sufism it is the Essential Self. In Mahayana Buddhism it is the bodhisattva. In Christian mysticism, it is the Light of Christ. In Vedic tradition, as in yoga, we come to know the Atman or the Self. And, when we touch this driving life force, we also learn that this is where the seat of our integrity resides. This is where we discover our current, working truth.
There is a wonderful Zen Buddhist tale which bears consideration.
A retired academic leaves his teaching duties to enter into monastic life. The Monastery’s Zen Master greets him, placing a tea kettle on to boil.
“Why do you come here?” the Zen Master asks the academic.
“I wish to achieve Enlightenment, honored Sir,” the professor replies.
“Ah, yes. I see,” the Zen Master responds, continuing to prepare the tea. “How do you think Enlightenment is achieved?” the Zen Master asks.
“I don’t know. I came here so you could teach me,” the professor explains.
The Zen Master begins to fill the academic’s cup with the freshly brewed tea. The tea comes to the cup’s brim, and still the Master pours. The tea soon fills the saucer, until the saucer is overflowing. The hot tea begins to spill over the table and onto the floor.
Pushing his body back from the low table, the professor leaps up shouting, “Stop. Stop. The cup is already full!”
The Zen Master replies, “Yes. And, so too, is your mind.”
Thus, exploration, genuine exploration, of our personal Universe, through the lens of our internal Observer, requires us to empty ourselves out daily. This means letting go of old miscommunications that rankle, forgiving past hurts, scraping the crust from our hearts caused by nursed resentments, and otherwise cleaning out our emotional house of pain. Because, when we finally let go, the petty things going on locally and socially outside of us will also give way, and we will be able to focus on two things.