The experience is
the whole universe is now experiencing itself. Everything we learn is that there are all these discrete, separate things going on, right?! There are trees and there are things called rocks and there are things called rivers, there is a thing called the sun, and the moon, and the ground, flowers and trees, humans and animals. All these things. And basically they all don’t really
have anything to do with each other. Right? That’s how everything is described. Now describing things that way
has a real practical value. You can take things and manipulate and reassemble them. Right? And make a car for example.
So looking at things like that has its practical use. But when it comes to life we get so indoctrinated into that view
and it seems so true to us,
it seems absolutely true. And then we seem to be this little beings and bodies
walking in this immense thing called life. Life is out there and I’m in here, which actually – if we would work hard on our ideas –
we would see immediately and not even in a way of spiritual realization, but even on a rational, logical level we would immediately see that those conclusions are completely and absolutely ridiculous completely and absolutely ridiculous. As I often say, we know how to define
something as simple as a tree: root, trunk, branches, leaves or pine-needles: tree. Look outside, there they are: tree Right? And trees grow in this thing called the ground,
and they reach up towards the sky. But the tree isn’t the ground and
the tree certainly isn’t the sky, so we think. Right up until the point we try to take
the ground away from the tree. You realize there is no such thing
as a tree without a ground. Have you ever seen a tree growing in the mid-air?! There is no such thing
as a tree without a ground to grow on. If you pull the tree out of the ground it will die. It’s like yanking its heart out. It’s like someone yanked the heart out of you. You die! You yank a tree out of the ground …
why does it die? You’ve dismembered it,
you’ve taken away from something that it is. It just doesn’t grow on the ground,
it is the ground! There is no such thing as a tree without the ground. You can say
‘Well, there is no such thing as a tree without a branch.’ I’ll grant you that. There is no such thing as a tree without a trunk. But we usually don’t look and see:
there is also not such a thing as a tree without a ground. Nowhere is there such a thing as a tree without the sky,
and the sun and the rain. Should I go on? Where will it end? Where will it end? What are we then to call a tree? You see, something in your mind will go like
‘Well, I kind of get it, but at the end of the day,
really, it’s a tree, you see?!’ Yes, but if just take away any of these elements … Let’s take the sun away! Where is your tree?! Where is the tree? There is no tree if there is no sun! You say ‘The tree depends on the sun.’ No, it doesn’t! The tree is the sun! The sun is as much of a tree
as the branches and trunk and roots are the tree. You take one away, that’s it! In fact you can take branches off a tree,
don’t take too many off, you take some branches off a tree
and the tree will still live. But you can’t take the sun away from the tree forever! So, which one is more a tree? Which one is a better definition of a tree? It might be that the sun
is actually a better definition of a tree than branches! Because you can’t take a single sun away from a tree,
because then they won’t even exist. But you can take a few branches off them. In fact, sometimes you can cut them down and they will grow right back up. As long as they have other parts than themselves. The soil, the sky, water, sun, etc. It’s easier to see the tree on an intellectual level,
isn’t it?! ‘O.K., that is kind of weird, but alright …’ O.K., I grant you that. And of course being able to call it a tree,
we do that for convenience, right?! So when we say tree we know where to look. There is a reason we call it a tree
and make it a discrete thing. As a practical, utilitarian device
of being able to name something.
That’s perfectly fine to do that. There is nothing wrong with doing that. But then we take the name and the definition to be real. Now a tree that’s firmly planted in the ground…
that’s not too hard to see. ‘It’s connected to all these things.’ No, it is all these things. It’s connected in the same way
like the branches are connected to the trunk. You take the sun away, you have no tree.
You take the water away, no tree. O.K. Human beings are a little bit weirder than that,
aren’t we?! Because we’re not stuck to the ground,
we can hop around. We can hop around, right?
Which is a cool thing. ‘Look at me, I’m not a tree.
I can hop around.’ Until you consider, which may actually happen to us
that when all the trees disappear,
guess who else disappears?! You and I! We disappear! And can we hop around
if there is no ground to hop around on?! And I hope it never happens to you,
but if you lose a finger, we’re still here. As long as it doesn’t get to infective. It’s going to be painful and nasty,
but we probably are going to be still here.
We lose the finger somehow. Right? What about if you lose the sun?! You’re not here!
Which one is more you, then?! Most people will say
‘My finger is obviously much more me.’ Yes, but you can do without it!
What about the sun?! ‘Oh, that’s something I depend on.
I depend on it.’ ‘I depend on it.’ ‘Any idiot knows it’s not me. I depend on it.’ ‘But my finger! Now, that’s me!’
But why can you do without it?
‘That’s just details.’ Don’t ask too many direct questions, you know. The oxygen we breathe.
How do you do without that?! If you really want to see how ‘other’ you are,
how distinct and separate you are as a body
from the world around you, just try to hold your breath. You’ll see really quickly how the breath is as much part of you as your feet are, and your eyes and your tongue is. If you cut off your breath,
it’s worse than cutting off your hand. Not that this logical argument is the same as oneness.
It’s sort of a philosophical model of oneness. But if you extrapolated it out, actually,
everything depends on everything else. And not only that everything depends on everything else, everything is everything else. So when the Buddhists talk of emptiness,
which they like to do. Empty, empty, empty, … For the most part I’ve noticed
people don’t like me to talk about emptiness. Empty. Talk about fullness! But empty is simply a way of saying
that everything is empty of
discrete, individual, separate existence. It’s empty of that. If you look at a cookie,
where is the cookie-ness in the cookie? It’s a name! But where is the cookie? ‘You idiot, here is the cookie.’
Yes, but what is that cookie?! Let’s break the cookie apart. ‘O.K., it’s flower(?), it’s water, it’s butter and a lot of sugar.’ Maybe come chocolate and things. If we take all those parts away,
then where is the cookie? ‘Well, it was a cookie a minute ago.’ So there is not this inner thing, this essence,
which is called ‘cookie’ or ‘cookie-ness,’ right?! It’s all these things put together
and then we call it a ‘cookie.’ What you are really saying is
‘When I assemble the world in this way,
I’m going to call it a ‘cookie,’ But what it really is
‘I’m just assembling the world in a particular way.’ When I assemble it this way,
then we call it something else. A ‘cake.’ When I assemble it this way …
something else. But this thing called ‘cookie’ doesn’t actually exist. It’s only a way to describe
the way you put things together. Human beings the same way. That’s why as soon as you go looking for yourself in the same manner which you look for your hand, ‘Like that. There is my hand.
O.K., where is my Self? I can’t find it in the same way. It’s a whole collection of parts. When they are assembled in a particular way,
we call it ‘human being,’ When they are assembled that way,
we call it a ‘tree.’ When it is assembled the way down there,
we call it the ‘ground.’ So everything is empty not as an empty box, not as some strange, amorphous (nebulous, vague)
sense of inner emptiness. You can have that, too. But that’s not really what they are talking about. Emptiness is actually a backwards and upside down way of saying One, Unity. It’s a way of saying ‘The only way
to truly define that tree outside is to define it
as almost everything that exists in the universe.’ As suns and clouds, trees, branches and roots,
but also the earth and the soil.
Where did all that come from? From other stars and galaxies in the universe.
You just go on and all of a sudden you realize
the ‘tree’ is, well it depends on everything. And everything depends on a tree.
I won’t go into that. I confuse people enough, I’m sure. So when we say the thing called ‘tree,’
there really is no independent thing called a ‘tree,’ there is obviously the thing out the window,
I grant you that. There is a thing you look at and see it. But when you really look at what that is, You will be hard pressed to find anything that it’s not! It’s kind of a weird thing, isn’t it?! Taking the sun away from a tree
is like pulling your heart out.
You can’t do without it! So how can the tree be other than the sun?! And the same is true for you and I. This is why when we go into the deepest state of our being, that we actually experience the unity. Because unity isn’t just a nice idea,
not a better belief system than separation. It has nothing to do with a belief system. In fact you can’t see it as long as you have even the belief system of oneness. That will still get in your way! But as soon as it all drops,
then you don’t see it the way I pointed it out,
which is sort of a philosophical, intellectual argument. But you actually experience it. And the experience is
the whole universe is now experiencing itself. When you look at a tree it’s the tree looking at itself. It’s all of life looking at itself in the form of a tree. It’s the same thing as Simon the New Theologian
seeing everything as Christ. My foot is Christ, my hand is Christ,
everything is Christ! Christ is just a word for the all-encompassing, total,
non-separable reality of everything,
that everything is linked with everything else. To see it, to feel it. The moment you feel it,
you no longer feel estranged from the world. The universe is actually your intimate companion,
it’s more than that.
It’s your intimate Self. Because this is what humans being experience.
This why this spiritual search is happening. Because we feel that something is missing. And something is missing.
The entire universe is missing. That’s what is missing. My direct experience, that I can’t separate myself actually from anything.