When you’re shut down and frightened, the world seems hostile; when you love what is, everything in the world becomes the beloved. Inside and outside always match — they’re reflections of each other. The world is the mirror image of your mind.
Not believing your own thoughts, you’re free from the primal desire: the thought that reality should be different than it is. You realize the wordless, the unthinkable. You understand that any mystery is only what you yourself have created. In fact, there’s no mystery. Everything is as clear as day. It’s simple, because there really isn’t anything. There’s only the story appearing now. And not even that.
When you realize that you can only see the world as you believe it to be, you look from a new perspective. The world is an optical illusion. In the end, it’s just you, crazed and miserable, or you, delighted and at peace. Everything happens for you, not to you.
I have questioned my thoughts, and I’ve seen that it’s crazy to argue with what is. I don’t ever want anything to happen except what’s happening. For example, a man sticks a pistol into my stomach, pulls the hammer back, and says, “I’m going to kill you.” I am shocked that he is taking his thoughts so seriously. To someone identified as an I, the thought of killing causes guilt that leads to a life of suffering, so I ask him, as kindly as I can, not to do it. I don’t tell him that it’s his suffering I’m thinking of. He says that he has to do it, and I understand; I remember believing that I had to do things in my old life. I thank him for doing the best he can, and I notice that I’m fascinated. Is this how she dies? Is this how the story ends? And as joy continues to fill me, I find it miraculous that the story is still going on. You can never know the ending, even as it ends. I am very moved at the sight of sky, clouds, and moonlit trees. I love that I don’t miss one moment, one breath, of this amazing life. I wait. And wait. And in the end, he doesn’t pull the trigger. He doesn’t do that to himself.
What we call “bad” and what we call “good” both come from the same place. The Tao Te Ching says that the source of everything is called “darkness.” What a beautiful name (if we must have a name)! Darkness is our source. In the end, it embraces everything. Its nature is love, and in our confusion we name it terror and ugliness, the unacceptable, the unbearable. All our stress results from what we imagine is in that darkness. We imagine darkness as separate from ourselves, and we project something terrible onto it. But in reality, the darkness is always benevolent.
Darkness is the mind that doesn’t know a thing. This don’t-know mind is the center of the universe — it is the universe — there’s nothing outside it. And it’s the gateway to all understanding. Once the darkness is understood, you’re clear that nothing is separate from you. No name, no thought, can possibly be true in an ultimate sense. It’s all provisional; it’s all changing. The dark, the nameless, the unthinkable — that is what you can absolutely trust. It doesn’t change, and it’s benevolent. When you realize this, you just have to laugh. There’s nothing serious about life or death.