When I go on hikes in the mountains of Mallorca I quite often come across gates that bar the path. All land in that small island always belongs to someone.  Then one has to go back or look for an alternative route. Sometimes the owner is generous and allows hikers to go through his property by leaving the gate unlocked.  I am always struck by how artificial these land divisions are when I see the same grass growing on both sides of the barrier.

When in meditation I have the courage to let go of my sense of “I” and “mine” it is like opening an unlocked gate. In Zen there is a collection of koans called the Mumonkan, the gateless barrier, and resolving each koan is like passing over and over an unlocked gate.  But when I hang to the idea of separation how insurmountable that barrier looks!

Realizing that there was never a barrier to begin with is most liberating and one cannot help smiling at how our false perceptions keep us from moving forward.  The grass grows indeed the same everywhere. The barrier is always mind-made and there are no sides or separation. When our perception changes, in a blink of an eye the barrier disappears, the heart stirs and the eyes become moist.   Love is not abstract any more. “Love is a concrete thing, an actual substance you can use with confidence”, says Swami Sivananda in Bliss Divine.  Love changes the vision of our eyes, the speed at which our blood runs through our veins, the make-up of our chemistry and our molecular structure. To keep a body “in love” is to keep it healthy, in accord with nature and alive.  Yes, Swami Sivananda, love is life, love is warmth, love is constructive and creative. “To live is to love. To love is to live”. This is the big secret that lays beyond the gateless barrier and that Swami Sivananda cried out in the ten directions. So, let us follow his advice and use that elixir to the point of becoming addicted to it. And if we ever run out of it, check your tendency to picking and choosing because that surely will make heaven and earth fall apart.




About suryasanmiguel

I'm a Yoga teacher and educator. I was born in Madrid, Spain and came to Canada in the 70's to study but remained here. I received a degree in Education from McGill University. In my student's years I had the good fortune of meeting my Zen teacher, Roshi Phillip Kapleau and I studied with him for 15 years attending numerous retreats. In 1988 I was also very fortunate to meet Swami Vishnudevananda at the Sivananda Yoga Camp in Quebec where I became a certified Yoga teacher My interest in Budhism and Hinduism also led me to meet several Tibetan Lamas and study their teachings and traditions. I live presently in Montreal, Canada but travel frequently teaching Yoga and giving workshops and lectures on spiritual related topics.
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  1. Louise Blain says:

    Yes, “A tenth of an inch of difference and heaven and earth are set apart.”
    Hello Surya,
    I took workshops on meditation with you two years ago at the ashram in Val-Morin. You’ve kept in touch since then trough these monthly posts. I just want to tell you today that it’s always a pleasure to read you.
    Thank you for these follow-ups and spiritual reminders.

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