Friday, May 2, 2008

Your end is your beginning

It’s one of the great mysteries of meditation that you inevitably end up where you began. You ultimately find that the treasure was hidden under your own hearth all along — and the path you follow only serves to lead you home again. As T. S. Eliot put it in his poem “Four Quartets,” “The end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time.” To clarify this mystery, the Tibetans make a distinction between the ground, the path, and the fruition. The confused, busy, suffering mind, they say, has within it the peace, love, and happiness you seek — the ground or basis for awakening. But the clouds of negativity (doubt, judgment, fear, anger, attachment) that obscure this ground — which is who you really are in your heart of hearts — have become so thick and impenetrable that you need to embark on the path of meditation to clear away the clouds and bring you closer to the truth.
When you finally recognize your essential being — the moment of fruition — you realize that it has always been right here, where and who you already are, nearer than your own heart, more immediate than your breath. This essential being is identical to what the Zen folks call beginner’s mind.

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