Although my insides shout at me to pay attention, I watch one more TV program, resolve to set out on one more day of exploration. There’s nothing wrong in walking through nature, but, if I fail to allow it to engage with my inner self and treat it as objective reality alone, I may miss the point.
The Upanishads remind me that “the Self-Existent made the senses turn outward. Accordingly, man looks toward what is without, and sees not what is within. Rare is he who, longing for immortality, shuts his eyes to what is without and beholds the Self.” (1)
And not simply shut my eyes in actuality, but shut off my longing to look without for that which lies within. It’s this second meaning that Jesus was referring to when he said, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (2)
Lin-chi told his listeners:
“If you want to be no different from the patriarchs and the buddhas, then never look for something outside yourselves. The clean pure light in a moment of your mind — that is the Essence-body of the Buddha lodged in you. … And simply because you do not rush around seeking anything outside yourselves, you can command these fine faculties.” (3)
I can no longer do otherwise than sit down. Of the whole wide world, finally, all that’s to be attained reduces itself to this ground beneath my feet and a beckoning inner kingdom.
(1) Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester, trans., The Upanishads. Breath of the Eternal. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1957; c1948, 20.
(2) Jesus, Luke 17:21.
(3) Burton Watson, trans. The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi [Rinzai]. A Translation of the Lin-Chi Lu. Boston and London: Shambala, 1993, 24.