Escape Duality

A monk asked Tozan, “How can we escape the cold and heat?” Tozan responded, “Why not go where there is no cold and heat?” “Is there such a place?” the monk asked. Tozan commented, “When cold, be thoroughly cold. When hot, be hot through and through.”

What a huge challenge! We cannot always escape our conditions, so how about instead of dividing ourselves from them, we instead become one with them?

One core concept in CBT is “Focus on the present, not plans.” We once again see a motif here of “Be where you are.” We can look at this in many ways, but are we truly separate from the conditions we are involved with? By showing a preference to a condition, we then create a dislike for something else. While that’s not inherently “bad,” it can often lead us to a place of suffering when we begin to worry, like the monk in the koan, about how to avoid things that aren’t happening at this moment.

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