“Master, what am I?”
The master kept his eyes closed and kept sitting cross legged next to his student.
“Nothing”, he answered.
“Yes, I know. You have said that before. But I feel like I am more than nothing. Like, I have to be something, don’t I? I’m right here. Whatever I am, I am here. Now.”
“No”, the master nonchalantly responded.
A moment of silence followed as the student tried to wrap his mind around the master’s simple, yet mind boggling answer. He couldn’t understand why the master would say this. Why not give an honest answer, one that he could verify for himself. Tell me I am love. Intelligence. Consciousness. Something!
“No. No I. Let me show you.”
The master took a deep breath, unfolded his legs and got up.
“Come with me. And bring that.”
The master pointed towards the table at the other end of the room. There was a small ink bottle on it. The student grabbed it and followed the teacher out of the meditation hall.
The master continued down the stairs, through the small room in between the kitchen and the living room, and through the room with all the cleaning equipment. He went to the back door of the house, opened it and stepped out. He kept walking across the back yard, down towards the woods, towards the pond. When he got to the trees, he kept walking, through the tall, rough grass, through the nettles and dandelions. When he got to the pond, he walked along the shoreline towards the small pier. He stepped onto it and walked all the way to its tip. There he stopped and waited for the student to stand by his side.
“Pour a few drops in”, the master said.
The student looked at the water. It was completely still and crystal clear. The student thought that the pond must be very deep, since he couldn’t see the bottom. Just the still, peaceful water.
The student slowly took of the cap of the small bottle and poured a swig into the pond.
“Look”, the master said.
The student looked into the water as the ink diffused in all directions, in a dynamic and interesting pattern.
“Tell me what you see”, the master said.
“I see the ink making funny shapes.”
The student became silent as he stared intensely into the pond. The pattern kept moving in an ever dynamic flow. It looked as if the ink was really a thick smoke, bulging forward as wild, dark horses galloped through the interface between the crystal clear and the dark, mysterious life form. The ink looked alive indeed. As if it had come to life, and wanted to dance in gratitude and sheer joy of having been granted existence.
Faces appeared inside of the ink. Dark, sad faces. And some of them wild, ferocious. Yet all elegant, in perfect harmony with the movement of the whole. All the wild horses and melancholious faces each brought their own life to the ink. And yet they were all just one swig of ink, dancing with the water.
“There’s life inside of it” the student finally replied.
“Yes. Now tell me, where’s the I of this life?”
“I don’t think that there is an I in this water, in this ink, master. I think it just looks alive, but really isn’t.”
“Does something need an I to be alive?”
“I.. I don’t know.”
“Yes you do. You just told me, the ink has life. The ink exists. It has movement, dynamics, existence. It is not alive. It is life.”
The student looked at the ink again. How it moved so beautifully. So elegantly. How could there be no I to such complex, harmonic flow of movement. How could there be no one inside of it, dictating its intelligent behavior. The master spoke again.
“The ink is not alive because it has an entity inside of it, who wills it to be dynamic and alive. It just is. Nothing more. Nothing less. And so is the water. When the two come in contact, the way each of them are together, is simply very lively.”
The student couldn’t really wrap his head around the words of his master. The master noticed the students struggles, and continued.
“You are like this ink, young man. When all that makes up your body and mind comes together, it dances too. Just like the ink. It’s moved by no one and nothing. Yet everything is involved, affecting the dance somehow. The water in direct contact with the ink is held up by the surrounding water. And the surrounding water is held up by the bottom of the pond. And the pond itself is held up by the entire planet. The entire planet is in turn held by the infinite space of all of existence. Therefore the dance is not only in the ink. It is in everything. And so are you. A dynamic dance of body, mind and consciousness. There’s nothing personal about this. No I to it. No you pulling the strings, willing your next steps. Just the components of existence interacting with themselves. But oh so complex, so infinitely intelligent these interactions. So seemingly right it must be that there’s someone pulling the strings. But there isn’t. It’s just ink. It’s just existence.”
The student could feel his hair raise on his arms, his chest, his back and his skull. Tears came to his eyes and his jaw dropped. He could see it. He watched as his thoughts came in from all sides, from a dark and empty void, kissed the consciousness of his mind, and again slid into the darkness. He saw how this kiss quaked in his emotional body and sent shivers through his heart. He saw how his world fell apart and all which he before recognized as self became a simple dance of perceptions with his conscious mind. No I. No me. No mine. All just was. All simply existed.
The master could see that the message had gone through, as the expression on the student’s face and body had turned into one of utter mesmerization and shock. He recalled his own first encounter with Truth and a smile came upon his face. He closed his eyes and watched the dance of emotions spread throughout his body. Gratitude, love and infinite appreciation kept crawling in from all sides. The master kept his eyes closed, enjoying the moment and waiting for the student to speak.
Nearly an hour must have gone by before the student spoke.
“It’s good to have finally arrived.”
“It’s nice to have you.”
“Nothing. And everything.”