by Nick Andrea
The Gateless Gate is this: that all forms change, and the only thing that doesn’t change is the formless consciousness at the center of yourself, also called awareness. You are that awareness, and no form can ultimately lead me there. No religion, no relationship, no job can take me to this place. Only sinking into the moment can. Awareness, alone, does the heavy lifting.
I have been searching for my purpose ever since my cognitive faculties developed. I think the first question I asked my mom was, “What happens when we die?” Yet, at thirty I still have not found it because I’ve been looking in the wrong places, seeking to define a timeless, immutable essence in a world of constantly changing forms. It is only now that I begin to grasp the need to relinquish the need for self-definition.
It means throwing off attachment to paths and identities. I am not a spiritual aspirant, a helper of humanity, a web designer, nor a boyfriend. I am something much deeper. Eckhart Tolle, on pages 263-264 of A New Earth says,
As long as you are unaware of Being, you will seek meaning only within the dimension of doing and of future…and whatever meaning or fulfillment you find will dissolve or turn out to have been a deception…
For example, if caring for your children gives meaning to your life, what happens to that meaning when they don’t need you…anymore? If helping others gives meaning to your life, you depend on others to be worse off than yourself so that you can continue to be meaningful and you can feel good about yourself…I am not saying here that helping others…[is not a] worthwhile thing to do…but outer purpose, alone is always relative, unstable, and impermanent…You should connect [those things] to your inner, primary purpose.
The inner, primary purpose he is referring to means to find the formless dimension that underlies every moment, that births all form. In other words, to be in the moment, seeing that everything is taken care of. This does not mean I won’t play the part of the spiritual aspirant, the helper of humanity, the web designer, or the boyfriend. I will, but they, alone, are not enough to give meaning to my life. They become meaningful when I stay connected to my purpose, which is to discover the formless in every moment. This is what Hafiz meant when he wrote, “Running through the streets screaming. Throwing rocks through windows, using my own head to ring great bells, pulling out my hair, tearing of my clothes, tying everything I own to a stick and setting it on fire. What else can Hafiz do tonight to celebrate the madness, the joy, of seeing God everywhere? (Ladinsky 1999, pg. 78)”
That is the Gateless Gate. It is not found in defining oneself, but in being oneself. And that is your purpose. That is my purpose.
I heard a song today which really touched me deeply. It is “Heaven,” by Brett Dennen. Here are the lyrics (downloaded on 6/9/12 from http://www.absolutelyrics.com/lyrics/view/brett_dennen/heaven):
Beyond the rules of religion
The cloth of conviction
Above all the competition
Where fact and fiction meet
There’s No color lines or casts or classes
There is no fooling the masses
Whatever faith you practice
Whatever you believe
What the hell is Heaven?
Is there a home for the homeless?
Is there hope for the hopeless?
Throw away your myth misconceptions
There ain’t no walls around heaven
There are no codes you gotta know to get in
No minutemen or border patrol
You must lose all earthly possession
Leave behind your weapon
You cannot buy your salvation
There is no pot of gold
Heaven ain’t got no prisons
No government no business
No banks or politicians
No armies and No police
Castles and cathedrals crumble
Pyramids and pipelines tumble
The failure keeps you humble
Leads us closer to peace
That pretty much says it all. I have ceased looking for my guru. I have thrown off paths. I am trying to hardest to see a job as something I have, not something I am. The royal road is laid before my feet and the practice is this moment. What can I do?