I get it now, when the Buddha says in the Diamond Sutra
‘And when this innumerable, immeasurable, infinite number of beings has become liberated, we do not, in truth, think that a single being has been liberated.’
I can let go of all thoughts for short spans of time, and experience how the sounds of the birds outside, and the contours of the paint on the wall in this room, and the contours of the emotions inside me that colour that experience, and the agent that ostensibly percieves all of those things, are not seperate in any way. I understand how life is unending unity, moment by moment, “there is no suffering” as is said in the Heart Sutra.
And yet, I can still feel how my self consists of piles of attachments to things I like, and attachments to aversions to things I don’t like. And I can see how complacent I become in practicing the truth that I understand. And I can see how this truth can be buried when I dive “into the breach once more”; I’m in a rare moment where I’m on extended sick leave after a concussion so it’s created a little more space to reflect and understand.
In The Freedom of No Choice the author talks so insightfully about our addiction to preference; how preference keeps us limited and moored to our attachments, which makes our engagement with the world limited indeed. I feel like I must be one of the greatest victims of preference; I have such strong opinions about how things should be and how I’d like them to be in every instance. This is the double-edged sword of something called “discernment”.
But, from a more generous standpoint, I can also see how gradually, I’m learning, and unfolding, and opening to the whole world, not just the parts of it that preference dictate. I guess the thing is, not to get complacent in the work of loosening attachments. There is an eternity of moments in a universe that doesn’t begin with birth and end with death. Let us not waste any!