New Jersey Does Not Exist, Part I
Charlotte Joko Beck (Everyday Zen, Chp. VII. Boundaries)
We assume that reality is as we see it and that it is fixed and unchanging. For example, if we look outside and see bushes, trees, and cars, we assume that we are seeing things as they are. But that's only how we see reality at ground level.
In order for the reality we live in to function, we need it to operate in certain ways. To do this, we must be distinct from things around us -- from the rug under our feet or from another person across the room.
Recently my daughter showed me some photos taken from a microscope of white blood cells in arteries. These cells are scavengers whose function it is to clean up debris and unwanted material in the body. Inside the artery I could see the little creatures crawling along, cleaning by forming pseudopodia that extend toward their targets.
As we do zazen [sitting meditation] and more and more perceive the illusory nature of our false thinking, the state of natural functioning begins to strengthen. That state is always there, but it's so covered over in most of us that we simply don't know what it is.
A while ago I broke my wrist and wore a cast for three months. When the cast was removed, I was touched by what I saw. My hand was just skin and bones, very feeble and trembling. It was too weak to do anything.
If we don't confuse ourselves, we also know what we should be doing in life. But we do confuse ourselves:
When something really annoys us, irritates us, troubles us, we start to think. We worry. We drag up everything we can think of. And we think, and we think, and we think -- because that's what we believe solves life's problems.
Peace is a decision