Zen, Space, and the Mind
“When we take stock of all these ideas, beliefs, and habits, we see them for what they are: constructs, figments of our imagination! By seeing that these things have no substance at all, we create the space to discover who we truly are.” The Path of the Human Being, Dennis Genpo Merzel, p. 79
Despite not being a great housekeeper, I have an abiding interest in sacred space. In the Greek, the word for forgiveness is about making space for the other person. I am that space. You are that space. What is the clutter making the space unusable? Our thoughts. Zen is a big-ass broom.
But you can’t see the dust needing to be swept if your brain is full of unmovable and battered furniture made of unexamined beliefs. The beliefs seem solid, and perhaps they were at one point, but time and life have knocked the rivets out of their joints, one by one. That’s what happened to my Christianity: brick by brick, the foundation of my belief system was removed. I examined each one and marveled at how solid it had seemed. I made that brick! I fashioned it out of my own unmet needs. And I had so many. It is a wonder I didn’t become a Hare Krishna or Scientologist.
As I put my broken-down beliefs into the recycling bin one piece at a time, I found the change previously trapped in the cushions. A veritable treasure trove of coinage. The money didn’t come with the furniture. It was my money all along! I had been giving the furniture credit for possessing the cash, when it had fallen out of my pockets over the years, leaving me wondering where all my money had gone. I am retrieving my money even now.
And I can see it now that I have removed most of the larger pieces of beliefs. There was no point doing Zen and sweeping my mind when I couldn’t even move around in my mind due to a lack of space. I’ve gradually done a great haul-away of my mind. I thought the furniture provided solidity to my life, but the truth was that it wasn’t even as valuable as the space it was occupying. I kept hurting myself banging into it. Every piece removed made my mind more peaceful and safer. I have a lot more space now, but wow is my floor buried in dust-bunnies. Time to get out the broom and dust pan.