Living a Life that Matters #2: Everything and Nothing
By Roshis Bernie Glassman and Eve Myonen Marko
Given on March 6th, 2015 at Sivananda Yoga Retreat at Nassau, Bahamas
Transcribed by Scott Harris
Bernie: A long time ago, in a far away place, there was nothing. And that nothing included everything. And all of a sudden, instantaneously, in no time, there was a BIG BANG! And that Big Bang spread, it started to spread that nothing (or that everything) throughout space and time, which didn’t exist. So it’s a fantastic phenomenon—especially if you’re an engineer, or a physicist, a mathematician. What could be better than that—this sense of everything or nothing spreading throughout space and time?
And of course, since it was a Big Bang out of nothing (or everything), it was all connected. Right? That’s how we talk about interconnection as if it’s a big deal. But if you look at it, how it started, it was all connected to begin with. So, what’s the big deal? Somehow we lost that sense—but we’ll get there. I think—I mean, this is all my opinion, right? I can’t back it up with anything.
So it starts spreading. And I like to think of it as energy that’s spreading—but it is all interconnected energy. And as it spreads, the notion of space and time develops. Because before the Big Bang, of course if there’s nothing there, and if that’s everything—I mean what’s the notion of space and time? There was nothing. But now it starts spreading, so this notion of space and time starts spreading. And that’s continued for a long, long time. I mean a very long time.
So all of this energy is spreading, and the notion of space and time gets bigger, and bigger. They start measuring it first in seconds, and less than seconds, and then in seconds, and minutes, and hours, and years, and decades.
And then this energy starts accumulating at places. And some say it accumulates due to the warpness of space that it’s in. Some say it’s gravity. There are different opinions for why these lumps start happening. Being a mathematician, I like this notion of warped space—curvatures in space—which makes the energy . . . You know, if you’re running down something, and there’s a curve or something, all the sudden it changes, so you start getting these lumps.
And then much later on—I mean this is going on for a long, long, time—much later on there’s this group of things called humans who give names to these lumps. They say, “Oh, that lump is a galaxy. And that lump is a sun. And that lump is a fish. And that lump is a human. And that lump, that’s a tree.” And we study, and we start learning. Even before we start learning, something happens, and this young infant appears, and the infant bangs into something. And the parent says, “Tree. Tree.”
“Ah, yes. I now have the concept of ‘Tree.’”
And we get all these various concepts from our parents. “Good boy.” Good girl.” When I say, “Tree. Tree.” I repeat what I’ve been told. And I’m patted on the head, “Good, you learnt. You learned that that’s a tree.”
There’s a beautiful book, And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran. Jacques became totally blind at a very young age. And he starts feeling the energy. He doesn’t call it a tree anymore. He bears witness to the energy of something, and he grasps what it is. And at a very early age he says that people call him blind, but he can see. And the people he meets—they don’t see. They go by the concepts that they’ve been trained to put on things. So they’re not seeing the things anymore. They’re the concepts that their parents told them, or they learned in school.
“You know, I go to school, and that’s an atom.”
“I can’t see it.”
“Oh, look closer. That’s an atom.”
Oh, OK. Then I have a test, and, “What is it that’s the smallest thing that can’t be divided?” And I say, “Atom.” And the teacher says, “Great, you learnt that. Good.”
And then ten years later I learned that the atom can be divided. It’s not the smallest thing. And then I learned something else was the smallest thing. But I’m not grokking anymore. These are things I’m learning in that way.
At any rate, we start learning what these lumps of energy are. Then along comes this thing called Buddhism, which starts developing quite a long time ago. And of course, as things develop people start writing down theories and stuff to explain it. And there’s a very important Sutra book called Avatamsaka Sutra, in which the metaphor for life is given. And that metaphor is called Indra’s Net.
So this is a net that extends throughout all space and time. So it’s a pretty big net—and not very different from this energy that I talked about. And at each node in the net, there’s a bright pearl—not very different from these lumps that I talked about, that accumulate. And in the Avatamsaka Sutra, it says that each pearl, each lump is reflected in every other pearl—in every other lump.
So, I’m a lump. And I am reflected in every other lump out there. And not just these human lumps, but the clock, the flowers—anything that one perceives as something has me in it. And every lump is in me.
So that’s just another way of saying that initially we have this nothing, which boom, bangs, and starts expanding, and forms into lumps. But it’s all connected. It’s always been connected. And it contains everything—all past present and future. That’s a lot. And even the energy itself, or in Indra’s Net, the strings of the net—if you touch it anywhere, you feel it everywhere. It’s sort of obvious, right?
So out of that kind of scene, we came up with a word, karma, which says if I touch anything, if I do anything it’s felt, and reverberates, and has effects on everything. So if I do anything, it has effects on everything.
Now this net is endless space and time, so it’s past, present, and future. So anything I do now affects everything in the past, everything in the future, and everything now. And one can say, “How do you effect the past?”
Because there aint the past—it’s all now.
So, we label. We’ve been taught concepts. And we’ve been taught, “Oh, that’s the past.” But in terms of this energy, and these lumps, it’s all now. It’s all now.
Now this lump has different kinds of instrumentation. It has these eyes. These eyes function. And so, that French man would say, “Bernie is blind.” Because my eyes are functioning, I’m forming concepts all the time. Can I grok, can I bear witness to you with all of my being? Not just as my eyes, or as my ears, my mouth, my body—with everything.
Now, if I go back to this energy, I’m doing that all the time. But I’ve got a piece of instrumentation called a brain, and another piece called eyes, and all kinds of things. And they’re not letting me experience what is. They’re not letting me experience all of this stuff.
So if we back up a little, I’m everything. I’m this whole, infinite space and time. Which means that everything that is appearing as a lump, everything that’s happening, it’s part of my consciousness. But I’m not experiencing it because my various perceptions are stopping me from that. And they stop it in different ways. So the brain develops something called fear. And because of the fear, I block out certain things. I don’t want to see that part of the net. Sometimes it’s because of anger. I get angry—I don’t want to see that part! I block it out. So I’m blocking out. So if I want to experience the whole net—or what Jung calls the Collective Consciousness, in Buddhism it’s called the Storehouse Consciousness—if I want to experience all of that, I’ve got to let go of all of my fears, my angers, the obstructions, various obstructions.
I can create practices that force me into arenas of this energy field that I wouldn’t normally go to. That’s what we think we’re doing in Bearing Witness Retreats, and in Zen Peacemakers. We’re moving us, or moving people into areas in which they are normally afraid to go into, or angry, or there’s some issues. And I think I mentioned a simple example, but I don’t know if you were here when I mentioned it. The poor staff was, so they got to hear it again.
There was this woman who came to our Auschwitz retreat. Eve pointed out to me just about an hour ago that we really haven’t talked about the Zen Peacemaker Order. So we probably have to do that. But, at any rate, we do these Bearing Witness Retreats. We bring people to places for certain themes. And the first one we did of that nature . . . Well, I think the first one was living in the streets—I’m not sure. But certainly Auschwitz, we started that maybe twenty years ago. And we bring all these different people. And many people that come . . . We bring all. Auschwitz was not just the Holocaust—it was not just about the Jews. That’s where the Gypsies were killed, gays were killed, Catholics were killed, handicapped were killed, and so many Jews were killed. All kinds were killed. So we’re dealing with why is it that we can kill others? Why is it that we can treat others in such horrible ways?
At any rate, a couple years ago, every morning we’d have these little groups. We’d break up the big group into little groups. And we’d deal with issues. And we’d try to have each little group be also very diverse. So in my group there’s a German woman who said, “For fifteen years I’ve been thinking of coming to this retreat, but I was afraid. I was afraid I would meet a Jew, or a Polish person.” So that mean, not just for fifteen years—her whole life she was afraid to meet a Jew or a Polish person. So she had cut off a huge portion of this net, because there’s a lot of Jews out there, and a lot of Poles out there.
And there was a Polish guy in my group who said, “I’ve been thinking of coming for ten years, but I was afraid. I was afraid I would meet a German.” So for his whole life—he was in his forties, she was forties or fifties—for their whole lives, for his whole life he had stayed away. He never went to Germany, and he stayed away from anybody who seemed to be German, because he was afraid. So he had cut off this portion of the net.
Well, whoever we are, we have lots of fears. And in Buddhism, the word compassion means the removal of fear. So part of our Bearing Witness Retreats is to attempt to remove fear. What that means is an attempt to allow us to experience our interconnectedness with more of this energy field that originally was nothing, but was everything.
So, all of my previous lives, and all of my post-lives are lumps in this thing. That means that I can connect with all of my past lives, and all of my future lives—because it’s all now. At least this is my opinion, see.
So when we talk about reincarnation, for me, all that means is that I’m connecting with either the past lives or future lives. Because it’s all part of this now.
Well, at least that is my opinion of how all of this sort of works. Any questions about any of that?
Eve: Bernie, what does that mean, to say that you’re connected to your past lives, and your future lives?
Bernie: Well, the whole thing is connected.
Eve: Yeah, right.
Bernie: So, what does it mean? If I can experience . . . So, I am connected. But I may be blocking it because of fears. I don’t want to look at my past, or whatever. I’m blocking it out of some kind of obstruction. If I can connect, it means I’m in touch with it. It’s just like I see Brahmananda sitting there. It’s the same thing. I can be seeing what I was a million years ago, or a million years from now—just the way I’m seeing Brahmananda, because I’m connected.
Eve: So, let’s say if you’re looking at Brahmananda, and let’s say that you get very upset at him. And you say something really nasty to Brahmananda.
Bernie: No way!
Eve: So I’m talking now about individual karma.
Eve: On the one hand you said, “We’re all connected, we’re all lumps, we’re all . . .”
Bernie: That’s the way I see it.
Eve: So we’re all connected, but not only are we connected, we reflect one another. See that’s a different kind of thing to say. So now we’re just . . .
Bernie: We reflect one another.
Eve: Didn’t you say that? Each pearl reflects the other pearl.
Bernie: Let me see if I’ve got my language correct. So I’m a pearl—and a pearl at this moment. And this next moment, that’s another pearl. So my past, a thousand years ago, what I was is a pearl. So all those pearls are out there. All those pearls are reflected in me. So reflection might be the right word. I’m not sure. They’re in me—right? So, what I am is all of that. And I am reflected in every other pearl. So even if you never met me, I’m in you. So whatever I do is going to affect you, even if you never heard of me. And the same thing—everything you do is affecting me.
Eve: So that is all equal—I think of it as gleams—you know the shine of every pearl is the gleam of every other pearl. Now let’s say you did something, or said something nasty to Brahmananda, to that pearl. Does that change the shine, or the reflection, or the gleam? In other words, that everything changed, I understand—but what about the individual that you spoke to, or did some action to? Does that change that particular reflection as different from other pearls?
Bernie: I don’t think the reflection . . . You know, we’re talking about . . . In my opinion the reflection, the gleam, does not change. What changes is that there’s all the sudden a new pearl, which contains my abuse of Brahmananda. Now there might have been a pearl ten minutes ago which contains my love of Brahmananda.
Eve: And if you apologize, there’s another pearl.
Bernie: Yes. So here’s what’s interesting—in my opinion—that everything that happens is creating a new pearl, and yet they all exist from the beginning. So it’s instantaneous karma, and instantaneous rebirth, and remembrance, and forgetting. That is I can create a new pearl in which I’ve blocked out all of the sorrows of my life. But that doesn’t eliminate the pearls that include all of the sorrows of my life. And they’re all interacting.
So for me, what does this all mean? For me, it helps me develop practices to try to experience more of this net. Why? I don’t know why. But I think it’s important.
Eve: So, if we just continue that, if I continue that . . . So yesterday you said, I think in answer to someone, “You have to work not just on your own personal thing, your own personal change, your growth, but you have to work on the world level too. You have to work on more than just one level.” So when we work on the personal level—and we’ve seen that in Auschwitz, and other places, and other retreats—people bring their own stuff, their own stories, their own fears, their own conditioning, their own needs. And then after they work on it for a while, you know, some of the stuff goes away. And then they discover some more things, and more needs, and more fears, and more conditioning. And then that kind of goes away. And then they discover more, and more, and more. But over time the world just starts feeling bigger. You know, and I think that’s that sense that you say they begin to feel that bigger relational field—that they’re related, that they are everything. That they’re not just their fears, and this, or my family, or this and that. Oh it’s more this, and now it’s that, now it’s that, now it’s that. But there are other upayas, or skillful means that help us do that without just working on the individual. Right?
Bernie: I think so. And so in my thinking I try to work on upayas that help us to experience those things.
Eve: What things?
Bernie: The other parts of the net. And out of that experience, I think we would express it in terms of feelings, or thoughts, or opinions, or whatever. The experience doesn’t have any of that, in my opinion. But the expression of that experience will come in different ways. And somehow I think we probably relate to each other through those expressions more than through the experiences. But I think it’s also important to be able to relate through the experience.
Eve: So Bernie, someone approached me today, and said to me that she really wants to do some work in the world, especially in the environment—which you yesterday called, “a catastrophe in waiting.” But she gets so angry. So every time she starts, she gets angry—just filled with, sometimes even despair. You know, a sense of, “Oh, we’re all hopeless. We’re all we human beings, we’re just hopeless. And what’s the good of doing something?” So that rage, or despair prevent her—to use your words—from experiencing the oneness of the world. Right—the oneness of life.
Bernie: Yes. It creates an inaction in a way.
Eve: Yeah. Or like a limited kind of focus on a particular aspect, or a particular lump that doesn’t see the rest.
Bernie: Yeah, I don’t want to go too far, but what was coming up to me is it creates a blindness—certainly a blindness of there’s so much that could be done in this infinite energy thing. And to get angry, or to be in despair, sort of means that we’ve limited our aspect of this net to a place where it all seems horrible to us. But the net’s got everything in it. So there’s all kinds of wonderful things that could be done. And I think that’s what—in some ways, I mean, in a big way—spiritual practices help us to do that—to get beyond. And we have different schemes. Like we talked about yesterday, different ways to climb up that mountain.
But I think if we recognize that we’re blocking our own experience of the oneness of life because of our . . . I don’t know it’s sort of silly, because every spiritual tradition talks about this. Our ignorances are blocking us from seeing the interconnectedness of life. That’s why we go on these paths—so that we can experience that. That’s important. And different things get developed in different ways. And we develop certain ways in the Zen Peacemakers.
I do want to open this to questions, because I think, I mean I hope this provoked you into some kind of stuff.
Yeah, but you’ve got to go to a mic. It’s a tough life.
Audience member 1: OK. From the work that you do, it seems to me that you see a lot of, in addition to a lot of wonderful things about human beings; you’re working with people that have experienced a lot of pain, and may have a lot of anger, a lot of hurt. And maybe this could be helpful to us, to know how do you work with, within yourself when amidst all this pain? Like when you’re working at Auschwitz, and people are coming together that have experienced incredible pain because of being treated badly, for various reasons. How do you stay centered? What about your practice helps you to stay, or to surf and stay balanced through all this process? I feel like that would help me to know how you work with that in my own struggles.
Bernie: Well, we work with different people in different ways. Personally, my way has been to enter into situations where I am either afraid of, or I’m feeling some kind of pain. I enter into that, and I—in my terminology—I open up my experience of that net further. The places where anger might arise, or pain might arise; it’s what I was saying before. Those are parts of the net I’m afraid of. If I can encounter that, if I can go into that—and I’ve been doing this I think forty years now, entering in places where I say, “Wow, what’s going on?” I enter into it. And somehow, it opens me up more. And in terms of my metaphor, it means I can experience more of this net, or in another way, I can experience more of myself. Because this whole thing is me, right? It’s all me.
So I want to say, what I’ve also found, in terms of myself, and my practice, is that if I get frustrated or if I can’t do what I just said, that’s because I have expectations. So I try to eliminate any kind of . . . I have hope. I have hope for everything, man. And that’s what keeps me going. I have hope for this thing, we can do things—but no expectations. And the expectation, if I have expectations of what I see in my life is that they arise in terms of frustrations, or angers, or whatever, those things that you’re talking about. But if I didn’t have expectations, I think I could do more stuff. In fact I want to.
Eve: I would just like to add one thing. I think that most of our energy is wasted around denying, or escaping those situations. In other words, once we already find ourselves there, and can really listen to a person talk about what happened to her family in Rwanda twenty years ago, and how that effected her—if I could really just listen, I’ve always found that deeply energizing. And there are others in this big hall that have been there with us. And I think they’ll pretty much confirm that. What takes the energy away is that running away from it. “No, I don’t want to. What’s she gonna say? How am I gonna feel?” Or “I’m so guilty.” “I’m an American. I’m a white male.” All that stuff—that’s just stuff. That’s not listening. You see that’s what consumes—I think—most of our energy, in my opinion.
I think Swami G had a question.
Swami G: Is that not a person? Is each of us not a person?
Bernie: It’s energy, so to me, it’s more than a person. It’s everything. So in another language, I always say, it’s a manifestation of non-duality. It’s the manifestation of non-duality. So it’s everything. That’s how I would . . .
Swami G: And I had a second question. How big is a person?
Bernie: So, in my opinion, a person is infinite. And then, depending on who you are you might reduce . . . We do—you run into people, and they reduce that infinite person to a little thing. But that’s just in their mind. To me, the person is this infinite thing. It’s the whole net. But, we limit everything, because in a way we can’t accept that boundlessness of the energy.
Eve: So Bernie, how big is a cup of water?
Bernie: It’s the whole thing. In Buddhism there’s this little phrase, a grain of sand fills the universe. That’s just a poetic way of saying the same thing. But to me, our various concepts limit that. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could just play in that world, that vastness? And I believe we can.
Eve: “At play in the fields of the lord.”
Bernie: Yeah. That’s sort of interesting. Of course, that’s a phrase from the Bible, and also there’s a phrase in Buddhism, which is, “freely playing.” That’s a very high state. It’s exactly that—playing in the fields of the lord. You know, playing in this vast oneness. It probably appears in other traditions too. It’s very famous in the Bible, and one of my students—a guy named Peter Matthiessen wrote a book, and he called it At Play in the Fields of the Lord.
Audience member 2: Do you think there’s a purpose for the interruptions?
Audience member 2: Do you think there’s a purpose for the interruptions—the things that keep us from playing in the fields of the lord? Is there perhaps divine wisdom for their presence within the net?
Bernie: Well, I don’t.
Audience member 2: OK.
Bernie: Maybe there is, but I don’t think so. . . .
Audience member 2: If it all exists, and it’s all everything, it’s all nothing—and within that is time and space, and that we are inside time, and that within time is learning, and lessons, and evolution (not only of us as individuals, but as a corporate—as the whole)—is there a purpose for that?
Bernie: So if you’re asking me, in my opinion there’s no purpose. I don’t use that word. And what I’ve also found is that that word could appear in different systems, and have a different meaning than what I’m attaching to it. So my sense of the word purpose—I don’t know what that is. But I think there may be different traditions which use that word in a different way, which I would love to explore.
Eve: So, Bernie could I follow up on that?
Eve: So, everything, we’re all pearls, all the different lumps, and all the different iterations. So let’s say a very enlightened person is a pearl. A very ignorant person, or unenlightened person is a pearl. That same person is also many different pearls, depending on where they are. You know, they’re very, very unenlightened, they’re less than enlightened, they’re more enlightened. And each one is a pearl, right. Do you feel like there is some sense of self-realization—that the oneness is going through a realization of oneness? You follow what I’m saying?
Bernie: Yeah. So there are a lot of different schemers. In a sense when I heard you talk, I was thinking of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ. I think he would say that in a more Christian way. And I tend to like his way of thinking. But it’s getting too philosophical. So I’d rather do things with you, and have you do things with me. I don’t want to get too much into philosophy here.
I want to say one other thing about purpose. I’ve made vows. And vows can come close to a purpose. So I would say my vow in life is to help people experience the oneness of life. And you could say, “Well, that’s your purpose.” I don’t use that word. I use vow. But I have made that vow, and that is sort of a rudder for everything I do. It’s all about how do I help folks experience the interconnectedness of life. So you could say that’s my purpose. I don’t know.
There was somebody who—we ate supper together—and he said . . . was it you? And that was your question. OK. So we took care of that. And you’re up here to ask a question?
Audience member 3: But you know it may be a philosophy question, if you don’t want to answer it. It may be a philosophy question. It might fall under that section. As you were talking about reincarnation, it came up for me. So I just wanted to ask it. And if you don’t want to answer it, that’s fine. You can say, “I’m not talking about philosophy.”
You mentioned, and someone asked about reincarnation. It comes up almost every time I’m at this Shivananda Retreat Center. And my background is Tibetan Buddhism. And I’ve kind of gone away from that because of this one point. So, if there is no separate self, and it is all one, then how can there possible be reincarnation? How can we talk about reincarnation, if it’s all one, it’s all now?
Bernie: You heard me talk about this metaphor . . .
Audience member 3: The pearls and the net.
Bernie: Yeah. So, that implies reincarnation. There’s new pearls popping up all the time.
Audience member 3: But most people, when they hear reincarnation, they think of themselves reincarnating as something else—coming up as this person . . .
Bernie: Perhaps. But then they’ve got to get down into what is themselves?
Audience member 3: Yeah.
Audience member 4: Hey, how’s it going, guys? It feels nice up here. Hey, how’s it going? I just wanted to ask you a couple questions. One is, is there anything on your bucket list that you haven’t done yet?
Bernie: I don’t have a bucket list.
Audience member 4: OK, and my second question was, can you tell us something really, like very extreme that you’ve done?
Audience member 4: Yeah, very extreme.
Bernie: I’ve never done anything extreme.
Audience member 4: Oh, come on!
Bernie: I’m a simple kid from Brooklyn. We don’t do extreme things. Yeah, I don’t know of anything I’ve ever done that I would call extreme.
Audience member 4: Thanks.
Swami G: What is the difference between knowledge and action?
Bernie: Aha. So, putting on my Buddhist hat, we talk about wisdom and compassion, and that compassion is the action that comes out of non-dual knowledge. So an example would be a drop of rain comes down, and hits a leaf. That’s the knowledge part. The leaf bending is the action.
And in the Zen Peacemaker Order, we have these three basic tenets. One—coming to something with an open mind, no plan, deep listening. And then bearing witness—and for us, that bearing witness is the knowledge. And then doing the actions that arise out of that is, we could say compassion, or tikkun—but it’s also the actions.
Does that make sense to people? If it does, if it makes sense, maybe I lost.
No, but that’s how I see it.
I always forget when we’re supposed to end. Do you . . .
Eve: We have five minutes.
Bernie: We have five minutes, so more questions?
Audience member 5: Hello.
Audience member 5: This is on the trend before, like how you guys deal with human suffering. And you were saying before that you find it better to like empathize with the people, and . . .
Bernie: Wait, find what?
Audience member 5: It’s better to empathize with human suffering, and to sort of not turn away from that. Is that, remember you were saying that before?
Bernie: Yeah, let me make that concrete, if I could. And maybe after tomorrow, you can give the example of the one body, the one person.
So, it’s easy to see that you are one body—your head, your arms, your eyes, your nose. Everything is interconnected; it’s all the oneness of life, right? And then something comes along—you have cancer, maybe. And there’s deep pain with it. Would you run away from it, or would you try to enter into it, and bear witness to it, and do the best you can to take care of it?
Audience member 5: That was actually my question. My question was going to be how do you two respond to the news?
Eve: To what news?
Audience member 5: To the news in general, to like everything that’s going on in the world, in general—all the negative stuff that comes in. Like how do you guys react to that?
Bernie: Well like I said, cancer’s pretty dramatic—let’s say your finger gets cut. What do you do? Do you ignore it? “Ah, look at all that blood! It’s terrible!” You do the best you can to take care of it, don’t you?
Audience member 5: Yeah.
Bernie: And you’re doing that because you’re at one with yourself. So if you could experience the oneness of life, you’d be doing that with everything, without ever asking that question. You would never ask the question, “Why do I take care of my finger? Don’t I see there’s too much pain around?” Don’t I get frustrated that I get a cold every once in a while? You take care of things—if you’re at one with them. It’s only when you feel separate . . . So if you were working with me, you would be involved with practices to experience the oneness of life. And many spiritual traditions do that kind of work with people. Different paths, different ways up the mountain.
Eve: So imagine that you’re opening the paper, and instead of it saying, “Ten People Killed in This and This Place,” it’s saying, “Ten of Your Fingers Were Hurt Today.” Or instead of the headline, you know, “Women Raped in India,” (or other places) the headline reads, “Your Thighs Were Hurt.” Maybe “You Were Raped.” “You Were Hurt.” “You Were Molested.” Imagine that’s the headline, because that’s what he’s saying. That’s really what the headline’s saying. It’s not the people in Africa going, trying to make it to Europe, and drowning. That’s not what it is. It is that, and it’s your body. So imagine that’s what the headline’s really saying. So, would you just say, “Oh, I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to sleep.”?
Bernie: Thank you. And it turns out we didn’t have enough time for Eve to talk about what the Zen Peacemaker Order is. So maybe you’ll start off tomorrow night?
Eve: We will, I’ll talk more about it. But I want to say that what Bernie said earlier that his vow was to help people have an experience of the oneness of life, in some ways is what the ZPO is about—only it’s through social action. And actually, this afternoon I was very moved, because just a few of our members are here—but they really talk about how in their world of work . . . And so if I’m a mental health professional, then, you know, my work isn’t just about bringing people to make them clearer, and more sane. But it’s also to help them have an experience of the oneness of life—which also makes them saner.
So, you see it’s the wonderful thing that you can take a vow like that, and really put it in every single line of work you do—anything, whether it’s I.T., whether it’s gardening, whether it’s writing, whether it’s plumbing. Anything you do, you can say, “Oh, this is what I do. I work with drain systems.” Oh, OK. So what does that got to do with an experience of the oneness of life? That’s a question everybody here can ask—can ask themselves.
So maybe that’s what we continue on tomorrow.
Bernie: Sounds good to me.
Thanks to you Bernie and Eve for your teaching, and thanks to whomever (whichever part of our one body) posted your teachings here. If I understood the teaching on Indra’s Net, a new pearl was formed as a result of my being here to read your words and, now, another one as I respond with deep gratitude.