The Gateless Gate

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 β€œHeaven,” by Brett Dennen. Here are the lyrics (downloaded on 6/9/12 from

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

Heaven. Heaven.
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?


About NickAndrea19

My goal has always been and continues to be the liberation of minds, my own and what influence I may have on others, to perceive the extraordinary beauty all around us. To this end, I write, play music, and design websites. Don't hesitate to contact me for more information about any of these activities. :)
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11 Responses to The Gateless Gate

  1. Lori DiNardi says:

    I discovered this same thing you write about here when I was trying to have children but couldn’t. It’s when I went on my spiritual quest. I wanted to know who I was, if not a mother, and I found what you have shared here (and more).

    • NickAndrea19 says:

      That is wonderful, brilliant, the universe at its very best. πŸ™‚

      • Lori DiNardi says:

        Hey Nick ~ When I went on that quest, the universe spoke to me through so many different avenues. One day a quote came across my path that changed my life, and I will never forget it. “If you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” Simple, but profound, especially considering how badly I needed to hear that at the time. πŸ™‚

      • NickAndrea19 says:

        Wow that gives me chills. That reminds me of how I was feeling last night, actually. Yesterday I had one of the worst days I can remember in a long time. Everything was breaking down and I failed this project I was doing. Just messed it up. I went to bed really feeling bad and getting quite down on myself. Yet, one thought did ring through my head – “You’re not whole because of what you do but because of what you are.” It didn’t seem to matter much, though.
        When I woke up this morning, however, my feeling self said, “Phew, enough of that self-pity BS. You are whole, no matter what comes of this situation.” It was good comfort.

        This morning in my meditation I communed with the fears underlying my meltdown yesterday, and I gave them their space to speak. Then I accepted them and said, “If [so and such] comes to pass then it will just present another opportunity to be great.”

        My best friend is in prison right now, for two years, which represented his worst fears coming to fruition. But he is bearing it gracefully and being himself, which is to help the people in his life. Right now that’s other prisoners, and he’s doing a fine job, it seems. If he can accept that with grace we can all accept ours, whatever may come.

      • Lori DiNardi says:

        Good for you, Nick. Life isn’t always easy, and being human, emotions will come up. However, it’s good that you didn’t ignore them, but acknowledged them, then put them in their rightful place.

      • NickAndrea19 says:

        Yeah I am seeing more and more just how much we can’t control what happens to us. Therefore, surrender is the hub around which all growth is happening for me right now.

  2. cooktocure says:

    Well written, Nick. Living in the moment has become my reality… for there is no other moment. Awareness has become the call of each of my heart beats… awareness of me in this space, and of others and what they need, and of silent grace enfolding all. Thank you for a lovely post.

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