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Chapter 7: The Essence Is at Ease

The hills are high, the valleys deep
When one lives beneath an old pine tree.

The old pine tree is a metaphor. The Zen people always use it; sometimes they say, “the old man,” sometimes they say, “the original man,” sometimes they say, “the original face.” Yoka is being more poetic, he says, sitting beneath an old pine tree. The primeval consciousness is the old pine tree; it has always been here, it is the very nature of existence. When you sit under the old pine tree of primal awareness, all is silent and all is joy, and all is utter bliss.

Do not search.and find. Do not seek: stop. And in that stopping is the secret, the secret of all secrets. Stop, a single moment of stopping and time disappears. See, this moment there is no time; you have stopped, and all is silent, and all is one. That is the meaning of the word alone; all-one-ness means aloneness. Stop, and see. And just a small experience of the essence is at ease, and your whole life is transformed.

The alchemy of stopping is what Zen is all about. If I can impart to you this stopping - if looking into my eyes, if feeling my vibe, sometimes you can stop and drop all searching, existence will come rushing to you. You need not go to search for it. It is waiting for you to stop; it simply rushes into you from all sides.

Man never reaches existence. Whenever it happens, it happens the other way: man stops searching and existence comes to him. That has always been so, and it is going to be always so.

Search not. Seek not, because all seeking is dreaming and all searching is desiring. And when there is no desire, one has arrived.

Enough for today.