Nondual Zen Article:

This, All of This, Is It

nondual title

This, All of This, Is It
by Kathleen Sutherland

I know and accept that this is it. It has to be. There is nothing else. But I find myself still often feeling that, nevertheless, this is not what I want. I then remind myself that I have searched for this for a long time – and finally found it! If it’s not what I want, why did I spend 30 years searching?

Could it be that I didn’t find it, after all? No, because the key to what I discovered is that there is nothing beyond this – this here, this now, this this. There is nothing else to find.

Is it possible that, although I have indisputably found it, it has turned out to be a big disappointment? I know some seekers settle into such resignation. They feel they've reached the end of the line, and found that there was nothing special there after all. They are right in a sense.

But they are missing a critical point: the ordinary is the extraordinary. This recognition is experiential, as well as cognitive. It might take practice to maintain that sense of wonder. Inquiry helps: How did I end up here? Who is moving this body? Gratitude helps, too. Considering how hard life is for so many sentient beings, now and throughout history, it's a miracle I have shelter and food every day. Careful observation of this world helps, too. Look carefully at the world around you: an animal, another human, your computer, the sky. Wow.

No, awakening didn't turn out to be one big letdown. It brought me to what I had all along, true enough, but that's always been magical and amazing. Of course, it's not so hard to see that life overall, reality overall, is astounding. But what about specifics - the daily grind, the difficulties and disappointments? They are intricate to the whole, and are to be just as treasured.

The fact that my knee still hurts eight months after falling last winter displeases the character. But then I remind myself, this is what you've been looking for these past 30 years. This is what you found. Are you going to fall into the trap of thinking, no, that's not it, there must be a better Something out there? This is it. The knee pain may not be my favorite part of my reality, nor is war, crime or suffering of any sort. But because I have discovered that this is it, and that there is no other It, and I have faith that It is good, then my perception must be off. So I don't need to spend too much time entertaining my discontent, or wishing for something other than this.

I can certainly work for change. I can continue to care for the knee, I can do what I can to ease suffering in the world. The freedom to take action for change is part of This, and really a wonderful part. But taking action for change is not change itself. That is out of my control. It will happen or not.

But this moment is perfect. If it could be improved, it would be. I can trust that whatever presents itself in my experience at any given moment is exactly what is needed and what is desired, because it Is. Each moment presents a different perfection, appropriate to that time and place in the story. Reality is perfect down to the most minute detail. I might have differing preferences, but then I ask myself, Who am I?