Two and “Not Two”

Len Huber, Photographer

A winter’s day in Seattle produces snow-fog all around Puget Sound as the warmth of a cloudless sky bathes St. Mark’s Refuge on the Gulf of Mexico. We categorize them as here or there, as opposites even. What one location has, the other has not, for they are two. Yet, they are “not two” as they are one with the waters that cover the earth.

“Not two” was the constant response of Seng Ts’An–third patriarch of Chan in the seventh century–to all who sought his advice. Perhaps the patriarch’s response is best understood by what he did not say–oneness.

As one, we are both here and there, not completely in one place or the other. There is no separation between what we have and what we lack if we are one, not two. When we identify ourselves as this or that, we deprive ourselves of our joy, the “filling up and spilling over”* of  us.

In oneness, we are infused with the force of life and all of its mystery. Mark Nepo writes that “there are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.”  If we believe that failure and success are one–not two–then we understand that every choice we make is complete in and of itself, a path of our own accord. Happy trails!

*Cris Williamson lyric in “The Changer and the Changed.”

Rhythm of ROW80 Sunday Scheduling:

  • Submitted bi-weekly Leashed as scheduled
  • Introducing short story revisions to writing schedule this week
    Plan this for afternoons/evenings but have to work in a nap
  • Novel revision consistent but not daily yet
  • Doing the Tao with Dyer on duality
  • Nepo morning meditation continues

10 thoughts on “Two and “Not Two”

  1. Wow, basically all I can say is wow! Coming from the girl who can’t decide which box of Kleenex to buy this gives
    a whole new way of looking at things. I shall try not to worry too much about the little things, as I tend to fret over most things. In the end, it truly is oneness. Thanks again for you wonderful wisdom Karen!


  2. Beautiful post, Karen. When I was younger I worried too much about decisions. Some of them loomed too large, skewing my perception of their importance. I felt surely there was one right and many wrong ways to go, and if I chose the wrong path, I might never find my way back to higher ground.

    But from the vantage point of age, I now realize that life isn’t a road, it’s a map. There are many ways to get to the same place, and many places to end up that are just as good. Due diligence is fine, but over diligence ties you in knots. Fear of failure is no way to live.


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