The self is a process of holding on and resisting. It holds on to its own imaginary self-ness.
Sitting in an old stone shed among a compound of buildings dating from 1420, in southern Scotland… Outside, above and around the little room, trees sigh and hiss as the winds move through. Beech, sycamore, spruce mostly. Then rain comes – a gentle pixillated sound like a stream, composed of many soft points of sound. Sometimes it amplifies into a quiet roar. Then it quietens again, and the trees are back with their sighing. And among the speaking leaves the birds come forth: loud, echoing, flutes, whistles, catcalls, and the warbling rumble of pigeons…
The neighborhood, the locality, is well. And it’s all embedded in one singleness, one fabric, a soft embeddedness that is full of wellbeing. A single mind, or better, a single heart, that doesn’t know of limits or edges. And which yet allows every last particular sound to be itself, just as it is. It’s behind every rain-drop, every speck of plaster in the lovely wall, every grain of sensation in the body.
One of my teachers doesn’t like to let on about how long they have been sitting. “What if people are disappointed or discouraged by the result?” they say.
There is the result.
The purpose of this center, Mountain Cloud, is to help people let go of themselves. Basically, that is what is meant by the Dharma. All the teachings flow from the state of self-let-go.
The self is a process of holding on and resisting. It holds on to its own imaginary self-ness. It resists the world. It resists processes within the body and mind. It creates itself, it creates the world. How does it do that? How does that happen?
Unmon held up his staff and said: “This staff has turned into a dragon and swallowed the entire universe. Where do the mountains, rivers and great earth come from?”
What would it be, to tumble into what precedes the self’s creation of self and world? That mysterious zero from which it all arises – what is in there?