The nature of our thoughts are like drops of rain falling from a cloud. Left alone, each one will simply fall to the ground and disappear.
But if we try to collect our thoughts we’ll soon see they’re impossible to hold. There’s far too many and our buckets are too small. Even if our barrels were large enough to collect all of the falling rain, we would soon be crushed by its weight and we would surely drown.
This is what we inflict upon ourselves when we allow ourselves to become embroiled with the non-stop proliferation of distracting and discriminating thoughts.
However, letting thoughts drop to the side, un-grasped by mind, is the art of Zen. It is peace in the moment, unencumbered by any needless conceptual thought.
Consider for a moment if every droplet of rain believed itself to be independent from all of the others. Just imagine the suffering the poor little thing would have to endure! It would believe itself to be all alone, with no purpose. It would feel as if it had something to prove, as if it needed to somehow stand out from all of the rest, just to validate it’s very existence. It would struggle all the way down.
But despite it struggle, it would eventually land on a leaf, in a lake, or on a tree to rejoin its brethren, putting all of its fears of isolation and separation to rest. It would rejoin the whole, from which it truly never left. It would then continue its journey in nourishing the earth, only to eventually evaporate into the sky to reform into a cloud once more to rain once again.
We are no different. We all come from the same place, and every one of us will one day rejoin our original source. There is only one seed of life, and from it we all spring, together.
Our separate sense of identity is only an illusion of mind, just as the raindrop’s sense of self. By holding onto this sense of separateness we only divide ourselves — we separate the truth of our being from the truth of reality itself — we create divisions and fractures where there are none.
In truth, no thing is separate. We are all interconnected. No one or no thing is left alone. Together, we are all one.
Imagine for a moment if every tree only thought of me, me, me — how loud, greedy and confusing the forest would be! We are no different.
With all of the trees only thinking of themselves, it would surely be a lonely place to be. There would be no togetherness, there would be no sense of community — the bliss of the forest would be obsolete without its transcendent sense of oneness. Tensions would rise as each tree argued with its neighbour over whose mushroom is whose, or whose moss was the most green. Things would become even more intense as the birds and squirrels chose their sides, aligning with whoever had more fruit to bear. It would become a battlefield of wooded rivalry, with every tree arguing about who’s the tallest, who’s the oldest, who has the most limbs, and who has the most leaves.
If such a thing were true, the forest would be cutthroat and ugly. The tree's sense of separateness would crowd out the once-sublime unity, serenity and calm; peace would would no longer remain.
Thankfully trees are ego-less, as are the drops of rain — if only we could be so lucky!
It should be our common goal to distance ourselves from our separate sense of self, from our ego-centered activities and habits of thought.
Only by living in absolute communion with one another, when we’re indifferent to our differences and we can see everything together as a piece of ourselves, only then will we truly be free.
When we let go of our personal identities, opinions and judgements that we so strongly protect and defend, the universe opens its arms in a peaceful and loving embrace of love, beauty, bliss and unity.
Stop reacting to conceptual thoughts and let each one fall away as if they were each a drop of rain.
In such a way, self-realization is knowing that you are not only the tree, but that you are also the forest — and that together you are one, forming the indivisible whole. This is the truth of our infinite reality.