Yesterday, evening I was talking with someone that I've been practicing with. When we got close to what seemed like the end of the conversation, he hit another layer. I'm sharing it as it could be helpful to some, especially those who practice with me directly or are kinda following my way of practice. Hope it's useful.
Person: "Zazen practice has knocked down so many ideas, I feel the urge to rebuild and make new ones."
Seiho: So-called "I..." "Feeling? Perhaps it's actually ego thinking that's attempting to reassert itself in the vacuum. I invite you to remember what it says in the Basic-Text about... "the process of Step one has left a vacuum in our lives." Please don't assume ego... the mind is like a pet rock. It's alive in its own way, has its own goals, and tries to get us to collaborate with it, so that it can do what it thinks it needs to do... which often comes out as damage on a spectrum.
I used to watch this TV show... sponge bob square pants. There was this character named "Plankton" that would get in a robot and operate it, trying to control the world. In this case, we're the things that the ego is trying to turn us into the robot, and ego is Plankton.
Person: "But it feels like I need them. Who would I be without the thoughts?"
Seiho: Precisely! By the way, you said "FEELS." Don't you mean think?
Seiho: Besides. Who and what are you without all the makeup that thinking pours all over us? The only thing thinking ever did for me was make me a contortionist, wear me down, out, and sleepy. It's a drag. All the time, people look like they're being consumed by what they think and assume are their thoughts. Dukkha sucks!
Person: I don't get it.
Seiho: What you refer to as "I" doesn't care to understand... which is why the mind can spend a ridiculous amount of time and energy arguing with us, litigating its case to convince us about whatever it's chasing at the moment. By the way... it's never occurred to you to wonder who is it that I'm arguing with? How can I truly be arguing with myself... IN MY OWN HEAD? That line of questioning could tell you everything you need to notice.
Seiho: WTF is right! The ego that you falsely assume that's "Yours" cannot rebuild what's not here in the first place. Zazen is Sonomama (そのまま)... Reality... the fact... before ego... before mind... had the opportunity to capture it, turn it into its version of the truth and hand it back to you, telling you what the experience meant for you.
Person: What's the difference between Fact or Reality and Truth.
Seiho: Reality is Reality. Fact is Fact. Truth is the mind's personalized subjective understanding or interpretation of what's happening. That's why in the NA Basic-Text it literally says, "Everything we know... especially about the truth is subject to revision." In other words, because the truth is subjective... personal... and not objective... it's updatable or degradable depending on the state and quality of the mind, at that given moment.
Person: I get it!
Seiho: In Zazen... we breathe... take a vacation from being the architect and construction crew... we notice as the Awareness... Reality as it is... Sonomama... without responding to the mind's formulations about what it is. Thinking is always lagging behind Reality, and though it's happening, it isn’t particularly useful to participate. Don't participate. In NA Speak it's the Step 11 meditation... you as awareness are watching thoughts arise... and without pushing, pulling, negotiating, entertaining, litigating, we see them die a natural death without our divine intervention.
Put another way, instead of using the common mistake of "I think therefore I am," which is the same as saying, "I'm a wave on the ocean, making the ocean, wanting to control the ocean..." the reality is... "I am Being, and as a result thoughts happen," or I am the ocean and because of causes and conditions, waves arise and fall by themselves, without need to fix, manage or control them.
Person: You mean they'll always be there.
Seiho: Of course! Step One! You're powerless over thoughts that are coming and going by themselves... and when we bite down on those thoughts... especially the toxic ones, we make our life unmanageable as all get out!
Those points of unmanageability are known as "Character defects," connected in some way to ego waves fear, not the oceanic presence that's authentically us. Does the ocean appear scared to you?
Instead of wondering which came first the chicken or the egg… Neither could be an answer.
Seiho: Laughter is Awarenesses reaction to when it notices contradiction. Gotta go! I have another appointment and this is playing with mud pies.
-We Are the Practice Itself