When we move from within, centered and one with our journey and our destination, this creates a power that can move any mountain.
When I was a child I was impressed by the way in which people responded to my father. It was clear that people treated him with respect. The atmosphere in a room took on an air of deference when he entered; people seemed to be drawn to him by some unknown force. His words drew an audience no matter how softly he spoke. He emanated power. He was as difficult to describe as to forget. Yet, he seemed to be completely unaffected.
He was my father, and although I enjoyed the way that I was treated because of that fact; I felt that my feelings for him were obviously based upon the fact that he was my father and so I could not understand why others looked at him with that same awe that I did as a daughter.
During the time when anyone with dark skin would have to enter through the back door, my father would enter through the front. Instead of stopping him; people would pretend that they did not see him. This was how my world worked. There were no rules, only agreements and when one did not agree; everyone else moved out of the way.
My parents made an odd couple in the early fifties. My mother was Hungarian and Jewish with blond hair and green eyes. One day in the mid-nineteen fifties, my parents were driving somewhere in the South and a Policeman pulled them over. My father knew that they were pulled over because he was Black and she was White, so he looked the officer straight in the eyes and told him that my mother was Black. The officer let them go. He just did not seem to be subject to the same rules as other people. I could not understand why the river seemed to flow in a different direction for him, I never noticed him asking it to.
When my father died, the minister said, “This was a man who was loved and hated, but whether you loved him or you hated him, you always called him Mr. Gibel, with respect.” The minister had never even met my father, but he knew of him.
His gift to me as a father was his passion for being. He demanded that I honor my own being, and compare myself to no one. My father believed in God and himself. He knew himself as a man and when he said it, it had meaning.
He was completely self-centered. By this I mean that his sense of being was centered within. He sought no outside approval and accepted no outside criticism. He set his own rules and he lived by them. He listened to the voice from within and no other.
I cannot say that he had self-confidence in the way that we think of it. Confidence was not an issue. He was secure in the belief that we create our own world whether we do a good job of it or a bad job of it is another issue. He did not look at himself in the mirror and say, “I love you”, it was more of, “I am”. He had no time for blaming society or hating anyone, he dealt with what was, faced it and walked through it.
This is The Power of Being. The belief that what God created only God can affect. The knowing deep within that God creates us in His image and for that reason we are fully capable of realizing any dream, accomplishing any feat and reaching any goal that we choose. It is only the One who created us that can judge for better or worse our lives and our living.
It was this centeredness that people responded to. Most people are not sure about anything. Most people will follow anyone who seems to know where he or she is going. Of course I did not know my father when he was young. I believe that he had a very difficult childhood. I feel certain that this acceptance was hard won. From what he told me of his life, I believe he came to this point simply because there was nowhere else to turn in his perspective. Being a survivor, the only way to survive is ultimately becoming your own strongest ally.
My father’s life taught me that things were not the way they appeared; there was something wrong with this picture. He would not allow me to be a victim because he showed me that no one could victimize us unless we give him or her that power. He showed me that nothing stops us that we do not buy into. He showed me The Power of Being through his living. When we create our lives from within, instead of simply trying to fit into the world that is without, we have all of the power that we need to succeed in anything that we attempt.
I am bi-racial. That didn’t help me find who I was as a child living in a world that begins with labels. On the surface it would seem that I was Black. But to Black children I was only Black until they saw my mother. Being is not how we are identified by others; it is how we identify ourselves. However, as children we identify ourselves with those around us, we identify ourselves first in the way that our family identifies itself. When our family has no single identity, we must find our own, skipping the first part. So, we begin to find where we fit in with others – since my family didn’t have a group identity, I didn’t have a place to fit in. After much rejection, and minimal acceptance, I chose to identify with my father. I chose to be Denise. I limited my identification to my being. So, from there I journeyed to find my roots, my history – and beginning, not with a racial or ethnic group, but with a single self – the only direction of that journey was within to find my soul and my true Being.
I did this because I felt like a rootless tree – easy to tumble – lacking in support. I needed to root myself, just for the sake of survival. However, when I did, I found that the world related to me in the same way that it related to my father. I found that people began to relate to me in the same way that I related to myself. They neither saw, nor looked for what group I belonged to as a reference as to how I was to be treated. They saw only me, they saw my Being and what they saw, what they related to was greater than the packaged and labeled version of a self, and they saw and related to a Being who was a reflection of a soul – instead of a reflection of a group identity. Seeing the change in how people responded to me taught me that we are no less and no more than we believe ourselves to be. If we release the history – the baggage of a race, a religion, a nationality or a family name, and become only who we really are, then the power of pure being becomes the essence of the energy that others feel in our presence. Our lives are no longer shaped by those who came before us, but by ourselves. This is the power of Being.
Faith In Mind
The Supreme Way is not difficult
If only you do not pick and choose.
Neither love nor hate,
And you will clearly understand.
Be off by a hair,
And you are as far from it as heaven from earth.
If you want the Way to appear,
Be neither for nor against.
For and against opposing each other
This is the mind’s disease.
Without recognizing the mysterious principle
It is useless to practice quietude.
The Way is perfect like great space,
Without lack, without excess.
Because of grasping and rejecting,
You cannot attain it.
Do not pursue conditioned existence;
Do not abide in acceptance of emptiness.
In oneness and equality,
Confusion vanishes of itself.
Stop activity and return to stillness,
and that stillness will be even more active.
Merely stagnating in duality,
How can you recognize oneness?
If you fail to penetrate oneness,
Both places lose their function.
Banish existence and you fall into existence;
Follow emptiness and you turn your back on it.
Excessive talking and thinking
Turn you from harmony with the Way.
Cut off talking and thinking,
And there is nowhere you cannot penetrate.
Return to the root and attain the principle;
Pursue illumination and you lose it.
One moment of reversing the light
Is greater than the previous emptiness.
The previous emptiness is transformed;
It was all a product of deluded views.
No need to seek the real;
Just extinguish your views.
Do not abide in dualistic views;
Take care not to seek after them.
As soon as there is right and wrong
The mind is scattered and lost.
Two comes from one,
Yet do not even keep the one.
When one mind does not arise,
Myriad dharmas are without defect.
Without defect, without dharmas,
No arising, no mind.
The subject is extinguished with the object.
The object sinks away with the subject.
Object is object because of the subject:
Subject is subject because of the object.
Know that the two
Are originally one emptiness.
In one emptiness the two are the same,
Containing all phenomena.
Not seeing fine or coarse,
How can there be any bias?
The Great Way is broad,
Neither easy nor difficult.
With narrow views and doubts,
Haste will slow you down.
Attach to it and you lose the measure;
The mind will enter a deviant path.
Let it go and be spontaneous,
Experience no going or staying.
Accord with your nature, unite with the Way,
Wander at ease, without vexation.
Bound by thoughts, you depart from the real;
And sinking into a stupor is as bad.
It is not good to weary the spirit.
Why alternate between aversion and affection?
If you wish to enter the one vehicle,
Do not be repelled by the sense realm.
With no aversion to the sense realm,
You become one with true enlightenment.
The wise have no motives;
Fools put themselves in bondage.
One dharma is not different from another.
The deluded mind clings to whatever it desires.
Using mind to cultivate mind
Is this not a great mistake?
The erring mind begets tranquillity and confusion;
In enlightenment there are no likes or dislikes.
The duality of all things
Issues from false discriminations.
A dream, an illusion, a flower in the sky
How could they be worth grasping?
Gain and loss, right and wrong,
Discard them all at once.
If the eyes do not close in sleep,
All dreams will cease of themselves.
If the mind does not discriminate,
All dharmas are of one suchness.
The essence of one suchness is profound;
Unmoving, conditioned things are forgotten.
Contemplate all dharmas as equal,
and you return to things as they are.
When the subject disappears,
There can be no measuring or comparing.
Stop activity and there is no activity;
When activity stops, there is no rest.
Since two cannot be established,
How can there be one?
In the very ultimate,
Rules and standards do not exist.
Develop a mind of equanimity,
And all deeds are put to rest.
Anxious doubts are completely cleared.
Right faith is made upright.
Nothing can be remembered.
Bright and empty, functioning naturally,
The mind does not exert itself.
It is not a place of thinking,
Difficult for reason and emotion to fathom.
In the Dharma Realm of true suchness,
There s no other, no self.
To accord with it is vitally important;
Only refer to not-two.
In not-two all things are in unity:
Nothing is excluded.
The wise throughout the ten directions
All enter this principle.
This principle is neither hurried nor slow
One thought for ten thousand years.
Abiding nowhere yet everywhere,
The ten directions are right before you.
The smallest is the same as the largest
In the realm where delusion is cut off.
The largest is the same as the smallest;
No boundaries are visible.
Existence is precisely emptiness;
Emptiness is precisely existence.
If it is not like this,
Then you must not preserve it.
One is everything;
Everything is one.
If you can be like this,
Why worry about not finishing?
Faith and mind are not two;
Non-duality is faith in mind.
The path of words is cut off;
There is no past, no future, no present.
S kineskog preveo Shih-fu Sheng Yen
© Dharma Drum Publications, New York
S engleskog prevela Guo-qu
© Dharmaloka budistička zajednica, Đorđićeva 23, Zagreb—>