Facing the Blank Page–The Unfolding of Tao

Here’s another interesting set of thoughts from my Morning Pages. It speaks to creativity, wu wei, and insight around our interdependent arising with everything.

Eating brunch–well, soon to be. It’s been a couple days, journal. I hope that this day is beautiful for all sentient beings out there and that those going through the wakes of storms and disasters suffer not at the misfortunes of the world’s changes.

Anyway, I don’t know what to write about again. That’s the first time I’ve said that in a while. Isn’t that wonderful: the thrill and anxiety of the blank page? What will come out? Who knows! As long as one resides in this appreciative, open view, it’s truly a joy to face the blank page. Then it becomes an act of faith in the process, a creative lightning bolt of positivity, and an easy flow along with the unfolding of what is in this moment. That’s right (write? 🙂 )–it’s an action of wu wei. Mastery is only important insofar as to have the skill to flow along without resistance.

So the question is not: what do “I” create (i.e. what do “I” as masterful agent do?)? Rather, it is a letting be of the creative process.

My thoughts and easy smile seem at odds with the liveliness of the little cafe right now, but that just invites me to smile wider. How many creative moments will unfold today as I go through the ebb and flow of deeds and feelings? How many people’s lives will I come into contact with, even just in passing as two apparent egos passing in the night? Such moments of pause are truly a wonder–if thoughts about consumption, desires, aversions, etc. don’t pull you away from the thought experiment.

Stop. Contemplate: how many myriad lives are in this room with me right now? Don’t stop at the obvious–you and other people. There are bacteria, insects, dust mites! Billions of little specks of life pop in and out of existence around and inside of you all the time. They come and go–emptiness manifested and reformed to another manifestation. This is Tao–the 10,000 things and the mother of the 10,000 things. On a larger level, there are 100s, 1,000s, 1,000,000s of people in your city, state, country, and 1,000,000,000s around the world. Then, there are countless planets, stars, galaxies. Don’t worry about your little passing desires. Stop and see your unfolding in this miracle, and hold this insight in your engagement with all of the unfolding. One mind–no separation.


“It is not possible that this unity of knowledge, feeling and choice which you call your own should have sprung forth into being from nothingness at a given moment not so long ago; rather this knowledge, feeling and choice are essentially eternal and unchangeable and numerically one in all men, nay in all sensitive beings. But not in this sense–that you are a part, a piece, of an eternal, infinite being, an aspect or modification of it, as in Spinoza’s pantheism. For we should have the same baffling question: which part, which aspect are you? What, objectively, differentiates it from the others? No, but inconceivable as it seems to ordinary reason, you–and all other conscious beings as such–are all in all. Hence this life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but it is in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in a single glance. ”

The universe implies the organism, and each single organism implies the universe–only the “single glance” of our spotlight, narrowed attention, which has been taught to confuse its glimpses with separate “things” must somehow be opened to the full vision, which Schrödinger goes on to suggest:

“Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground stretched out upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. You are as firmly established, as invulnerable as she, indeed a thousand times firmer and more invulnerable. As surely as she will engulf you tomorrow, so surely will she bring you forth anew to new striving and suffering. And not merely ‘some day’: now, today, every day she is bringing you forth, not once but thousands upon thousands of times, just as every day she engulfs you thousands of times over. For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.”

–From Alan Watts’ The Book pp. 98-99; Quoted sections herein originally from: Erwin Schrödinger’s My View of the World pp. 21-22.

May this help you see beyond you as an island, an ego amidst all–controlling creativity as a forceful act of “I”, “me”, and “mine”.


A Point of Perspective – Our Place in the Universe

This world has over 7 billion people
Living among untold myriad lifeforms
On a planet circling a star,
Pulsing heat alongside the galaxy’s millions more.
And this enormous galaxy, mother of countless stars:
One small clump among a cosmic ocean of them.
All in a universe that is billions of years old.

Yet, you worry about the meaning in your life,
In your day,
In this instant.

Banalities of consumption
And a navel-gazing rendition of “me”
Those certainly must be
Of universal concern.


When I was young, I used to entertain myself this way before falling asleep. In my mind’s eye I would see myself lying in bed. I would zoom back like a camera to include my house in my neighborhood in Boulder, in Colorado, in the United States of America, on the continent of North America. Then I would look at the planet like a globe, including India, where I was born; Tibet, where my father and mother were born; and Scotland, where I learned to speak English. Then I would picture Earth as a beautiful blue sphere floating in blackness. I would make the picture bigger, including other planets in our solar system with the sun in the center. The most amazing thing was to see earth disappearing into the darkness as a speck. Then I would imagine the outer planets of the solar system. The sun would disappear as I imagined all the stars in our galaxy, which seemed endless. I would dissolve our galaxy into one star, one light, and make that light very tiny, surrounded by other lights in the darkness, which weren’t stars, but galaxies. Then I would think about how small I was, and how strange and wonderful it is to have been born.

Everybody we know was born. Everyone we see was once a baby. First they weren’t here, and then they were. We don’t often contemplate birth–we’re too busy worrying about money, food, the way we look, the way other people look, what other people are thinking about the way we look. But birth is a profound passage. Seeing a chick peeking its way out of an egg is moving and powerful. Even though in being born we suffer, birth can happen in such love, such openness. And like death, birth shows us the fragility of life.

We’re just these tiny vulnerable beings riding on a blue dot in space. Yet sometimes we act as if we’re the center of the universe. The enlightened alternative is to appreciate how incredibly rare and precious human life is. The enlightened alternative is to appreciate everything. By appreciating whatever we encounter, we can use it to further our journey of warriorship. We are good as we are, and it is good as it is. Once we have this understanding, we’ll see that we are living in a sacred world.

— Sakyong Mipham, Turning the Mind into an Ally, pp. 140-143