Q: I had a feeling two weeks ago, in a moment of silence. I have been very committed to ecological and social causes. But in this moment of silence, suddenly I just felt that the earth can die just as my body can die. It's the same, and in both cases it’s not that important. I had this feeling that everything, my body, the Earth, the trees, the oceans, all that I love can disappear and it's okay. I would like to hear about it.
A: Well, all that which appears will have to go at some point, but it doesn't have to be psychological. This means that you live with the facts. You live with your body now and you attend to your body needs in a functional way and, since your body is not separate from its environment, you take care of the environment, which you call the Earth. It doesn’t have to be political, it doesn’t have to come from reaction, it needs to be functional. You observe your body and your environment without any preconceived notion, and you act according to your abilities. It is not something personal, it is not something you decide to do, it’s just something which happens, in a functional way.
To a certain extent, what you call the Earth or the world is a reflection of your own body. The more you’re sensitive to your body, the more you can be sensitive to your environment. The more you are fully intentional with your body, the more you can be intentional with your environment. In both cases, listening is your tool.
Little by little, you’ll become more and more attuned to body sensations, and that will expand to a listening to what you call the world. There may be a point where body sensations will challenge the very idea of a body, and if the idea of a body is challenged experientially then the idea of environment will be challenged as well. There will be a point where you have to let go of the words body or world because they are concepts. What is here is something which we cannot think of, something which we cannot understand with our limited mind. So, in a way, this brings you to the threshold of what is happening when you don't think. When you don't think the body, when you don't think the environment, you're going to be taken to a newer space, where these concepts do not apply anymore. Only from that space can clarity develop.
So, practically speaking, do attend in a more sensitive way to what you call your body and what you call your environment. We don't have any suggestion, we don’t have any comments about your involvement with political or social activism. This all depends on your conditioning. The way you treat your body, you're going to treat your environment. If you feel drawn to some political cause, why not, but you must do it free of the fantasy that it is needed, because nothing is needed; you are not needed. As you said, the body ends, and the world will end. Actually, it ends moment to moment. We need to have this kind of anticipation that death of the body is death of the thinking. So, any moment we stop thinking, or between two thoughts, or two perceptions, there is no body as such and there is no world as such. Particularly, when you go to deep sleep, the world disappears and your body disappears.
This metaphysical clarity will not prevent you from acting, but you won't act against something, you’ll act with something, according, again, to your own ability. So, we can spend money or energy or activity in a social context, but only so long as it comes from a spontaneous movement, not from an ideological viewpoint, because it is difficult to know what is proper and what isn’t. People who pretend to know what is right or wrong always have an ideological point of view. If you have no ideology, life is simple. Action will never come from a political point of view, it will come from what is obvious. In that moment you can follow any political stance, because for you it will not be a stance, it will be obvious and unavoidable.
So, you free yourself from any ideological baggage, it is very important. Listen to your body sensations, listen to emotions—the body is emotion—and listen to the world as such. For this, you do not need any decision, you do not need any knowledge, you just need a kind of humility. In this humility, you will be taken to act in some way. Some people act in more inner ways, some people in more outer ways. It is unavoidable. We don't decide what we do, we are taken by it, by our capacities. It is never personal.
There's no contradiction between the world and the body. In Tantra, we don't try to deny the world as it is done sometimes in other nondual teachings. The world is a representation of our mind. So, on the contrary, we take the world and its limitations as a representation of our limited thinking. We learn from our limitations, and we learn by listening to the world.
So, there's no attitude to be decided upon. Again, we live more and more simply and without pretense, in the listening. In this listening, clarity will come, and only then can it come. It doesn’t come from thinking, it doesn't come from ideology, it doesn't come from knowledge, it comes from really listening. Listening is a not-knowing state, an open state, and not-knowing is the root of all knowledge. The practical and localized knowledge will come in this not-knowing openness.
There is no room for being a doer, there is no room for will, there is no room for decision, there is only room for listening. That is the root of all functional approaches.