Note: In South Africa, the ostrich egg is a popular tourist curio. Emptied of all contents (albumen and yolk), the interior of the egg is cleaned thoroughly so that no residue remains before it is sold.
Reflect on the hollow ostrich egg that has been emptied of its contents.
Perceived with the view of conditioning, the egg is simply "emptiness" with a veneer of shell. In other words, the egg appears to contain “emptiness” in its interior that is separate from the “emptiness” that surrounds it on the exterior. What creates this appearance of inside and outside? The shell -which in the case of the ostrich egg, is surprisingly tough consisting of several millimetres of calcium carbonate. If the egg shell is shattered, what remains? Simply some fragments of shell and “emptiness” with no inner and outer.
Perceived with the view of pure understanding, there is simply this “emptiness” in which the ostrich egg temporarily appears. The ostrich egg is not permanent. The shell itself is composed of elements. Temporarily they have combined to create the egg; sooner or later they will un-combine.
See if you can perceive this empty space, the combining of elements that "create" the temporary appearance of "ostrich egg", and then the un-combining of elements which cause the ostrich egg to "disappear", leaving simply this background of "emptiness".
What is the nature of the “emptiness” in which the ostrich egg appears? The description “emptiness” is a misnomer, a label used to describe what is indescribable, unperceivable, unknowable, unconditioned, a vacancy that contains everything.
Replace the ostrich egg now with the human body. Perceived with the view of conditioning, that body appears separate from its environment. There is an appearance of solidity to the body that delineates it from the “emptiness” around it. From the perception of the body-identified person, there is a sense of “in here” and “out there”. Again, if the body perishes and is cremated or buried, what remains? A handful of ashes, a few bones, and “emptiness” with no inner and outer.
Perceived with the view of pure understanding, there is simply “emptiness” in which the human body appears. In this way, the human body is not different from any other object perceived. It too is simply made of elements. These elements are mainly just space or “emptiness”? (Read any biology textbook for the science supporting this view).
Trace the physical body from foetus to old age. Can you see that elements temporarily combine and then un-combine? Can you see that the “emptiness” in here and the “emptiness” out there are not separate? There is simply “emptiness” – with just the temporary appearance of a human body?
Reflect on this scenario in silence until you “get” it. There is no birth and death of an entity – there is simply this clustering of elements temporarily gathered together for a time.
What remains? Who are you prior to the formation of the foetus, prior to fertilization of sperm and egg, prior to conception? Who are you after the physical body is dead and gone?
Let’s return now to our ostrich egg analogy. Imagine that the ostrich egg is not empty. Imagine instead that it is filled with false concepts. Imagine that those false concepts generate personas or false selves. Imagine that the personas churn out emotions – happy and sad; euphoric and tragic, ad nauseum, based on the fulfilment or non-fulfilment of endless desires and fears.
The “emptiness” within the ostrich egg cannot be easily discerned when this apparent “emptiness” is adulterated with a steaming mess of thoughts, emotions, false selves and false concepts. When the “emptiness” within and the “emptiness” without cannot be seen as identical, it is virtually impossible for the understanding of the non-separated state to dawn.
This is a metaphor for the conditioned mind as it functions in humans. The human animal itself is natural and functions effortlessly. The “mind” on the other hand is effectively insane. It is self-centred and clusters false concepts around a fictional idea of self-hood.
Examples of corrupting thoughts were offered by “floyd” yesterday.
I do not want to give up my ability to look at a beautiful sunset and weep.
I'll take the bad in order to have the good.
To be able to relish the beauty, I will tolerate whatever ugliness comes along.
The Nisarga Yoga offered here, invites you to “empty” the conditioned mind of ALL concepts. In the absence of attachment to concepts, the machinery of the mind ceases to entrap you. Thoughts may arise, but they are not clung onto and linked together to create a false persona with its myriad of desires and fears.
Observe the thoughts as you observe a flock of birds fly across the sky. There is only an appearance of a “flock”. Each bird is separate, but when grouped together creates an appearance of a solid entity. The self-centred thoughts are like that. Do not be fooled because there is an appearance of continuity and connection.
To be continued.
Please enter the silence of contemplation.
Comments or clarifications may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The guidance on removing the layers of conditioning that obscure the True Reality are available in From the I to the Absolute, the Advaita Retreat DVD series, or face-to-face and online Retreat options.