There has been a recent zen like analogy that has become present in my life recently. It came up when I was at work building a simple rubber band ball. I know… really mundane… but that is how zen works. It seems mundane on the outside but with the right looking, it can become pivotal to ones inner peace and to freeing one from human suffering.
Here is the secret to the rubber band ball that I found.
It is like us in many ways and I liken ourselves to this rubber band ball for a reason. A rubber band ball gives the sense that it is indeed a ball. As you slowly take off band after band it becomes lesser and lesser. So entangled it is in rubber bands that it pours out its solid like appearance. It looks, bounces, and feels like a ball right?
This is where it gets interesting.
As you reach the last of the rubber bands it not only is no longer a ball, but it is nothing. There is nothing in the middle of this rubber band ball to begin with.
It is not a ball at all, it was just rubber bands collectively creating the illusion of a ball.
That is the illusion with us. Like the rubber band ball, we are strung together by thoughts, ideas, concepts, and environmental conditioning. But at the very core of us there is nothing. Absolutely nothing. What a beautiful ball we have led ourselves to believe, but despite how “solid” we feel, how real the thought is that there is something there, there is not. There is no you there to perpetuate human suffering.
What is the difference in the rubber band ball?
And there is a difference. Unlike the rubber band ball, its hard to get to the center without tearing all the layers down to reveal there is nothing. With you, it just takes one moment of honest zen looking. You will find all the thoughts strung together with how you should be or how you are, etc. These however are nothing but thoughts that give no evidence of you actually being there.
Everything else is left there in that vast space, which in reality is all there is. However that you, that you thought you were, is not. Just another thought generated by mistaken attachment to the experiencing of truth.
There needs not be an experiencer for experiencing to happen, this is what reality is, this all encompassing experiencing.
How does this relieve human suffering?
Here is how it does so, since there is no you, there is nothing but the story playing out. There is no one to suffer to begin with, just experiencing happening. The story will still play out, there is death of some sort but it is not you for you never existed to begin with. Seeing this, the sense of character unravels like a rubber band ball to reveal nothing but everything at the same time!
There is so much attachment to the character and the story that comes along with it, that human suffering happens because of this “seriousness.” When having this zen like seeing happening, the character still goes on but it is seen that you are not that. The story will still continue but it no longer becomes personal.
So to the rubber band ball, I thank you for your insight, much humbling it is.
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