Sunday, January 2, 2011

Trust the Not-Knowing

Follow the stream,

Have faith in its course.

Ch'an Master Sheng-Yen

During my Zen training there were a number of phrases that lodged in the mind like nettles, refusing to budge, going nowhere. One was “don’t know mind”; another “only don’t know”. The mind that knows is limited, conditioned, stuck. Not knowing opens up limitless possibilities. We want to cultivate the mind that knows nothing. Our ordinary thinking mind is addicted to knowing ‘stuff’. We so want to be right, to seem like we know what we are doing-to be in charge. One with this ocean of vastness, who is in charge of anything? Yet, strangely, decisions are made and effective actions are taken.

How do we cultivate the mind that has no need to know? With no need to do or know anything whatsoever, genuine Knowing emerges of its own, spontaneously. This river flows by itself, without guidance or direction. Freely appearing Knowing is incontrovertible, not arguable. We know directly, for ourselves. No teachers or teachings are necessary. “Dharmas here are empty, all are the primal void”-the Heart Sutra speaks to us clearly.

In the teaching/discussion of January 9, we will explore the experience of living in the world from the ‘perspective’ of not knowing. How do we learn to identify and trust this direct, spontaneous speaking and acting? In Affirming Faith in Mind we read “thus walking freely, undisturbed”. What is it like to live in this way? We have all experienced such freedom. Right here, right now, how can we miss it?

For Info on Chinese Zen (Ch'an) Master Sheng Yen see:

1 comment:

Vanessa Hall said...

Hello Michael - I like your ' Trust the Not-Knowing' blog! I track all things truth and trust, as my work is solely about teaching people around the world about trust and how it works, enlightening people to the truth about trust as it was revealed to me.

What you speak about here is so true, and the challenge is that we build up expectations in our minds about how life ' should be'. As we grow through an education system that is focused on mind knowledge, and you fail if you do not know, it is difficult for people to let go of that.

One of the things I teach is to help people understand all the expectations they have first, to explore where they have come from, and in that process, they can choose to let go, or change their expectations in time.

To expect life to simply ' be' , to trust that everything is perfect - that is the ultimate trust.

Take care.