Posts Tagged ‘Rivers are rivers’

Rivers Are Rivers

There is a wonderful Zen saying: “Before I began Zen practice, mountains were mountains, rivers were rivers. When I had some experience, some more intimate understanding, I saw that mountains were not mountains; rivers were not rivers. Now that I have come to the very substance and am at rest, I see that mountains are mountains; rivers are rivers.”

In our neurotic compulsion to think, think, think, we interfere with our true seeing. For example, when we are going to meet someone, our minds are full of all kinds of unnecessary questions: Will this person like me? Will he not like me? Will it be a good thing for me to meet her? Will she like the way I dress? Will he approve of what I say? With such preoccupations, we completely miss the reality of the person we meet. The face, the name, the interests of that person may be entirely lost because we are so full of ourselves. Once a friend of mine was about to go to Italy. I asked her if she had been there before. “Yes,” she said, “but I didn’t see it. I was too full of myself. So I’m going back, and this time, I hope to see it.”


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