Musings

There are no things ― 3 min read

Field of water lilies

Take, for example, your own visual field. As your eye scans the territory of nature, does it ever see a single thing, a solitary thing, a separate thing? Has it ever seen a tree? a wave? a bird? Or does it instead see a kaleidoscopic flux of all sorts of interwoven patterns and textures, of tree plus sky plus grass plus ground, and waves plus sand plus rocks plus sky and clouds...

β€”Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth

This quote struck me so I had to write about it. It reminds me strongly about having no head (if there a no things then it follows that there are no heads). It's at once subtle and obvious, remarkable and banal.

If I look, or hear, or see, or taste, or perceive in any way then I am a part of an allness from which I am inseparable and from which no part can be separated. In the picture of this musing there are no lilies, no sky, no water, no observer, no observed - none of these things exist in isolation - there is a single field which encompasses all. There are direct experiences of colors, shapes, textures, shades - the abstractions into lilies, sky, water and clouds are products of our minds.

This is remarkably hard to talk about and yet it is so incredibly simple. Abstractions, concepts, ideas and models are not reality, they are tools we may use to communicate and manipulate reality. All too often I believe we mistake our abstractions for the real thing and when we do this we lose the only thing - everything.

Ideas and concepts and abstractions only exist in the mind. Reality is a single thing, a oneness, an allness... Something that can't be carved up and described and is easily forgotten about as soon as we start doing this.

On the rare occasions that I shed my concepts / models / boundaries / abstractions I feel a profound liberation and peace. I realize that this is it. I am not separate - nothing is. This is the one world, this is the everything, the allness, God, reality, Om, the Tao, Heaven, whatever words stand for it.

I don't know why it's so hard to talk about, perhaps because it is so overlooked, perhaps because it is so obvious, or perhaps because the very act of trying to name or describe it is an attempt to put a boundary around something that cannot be circumscribed and around which no boundary can be placed. After all, how can we draw a boundary without something both inside and outside it and what can possibly be outside allness?

So perhaps it is fundamentally impossible to describe, nevertheless I've tried! πŸ™‚


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