Arithmetic

Rodney Smith of the Seattle Insight Meditation Society in conversation with Vince Horn of Buddhist Geeks (Episode 143: Stepping Out of Self-Deception):

Anything that we think about the world is really coming from the mind.  It is not coming from reality itself.  All of the likes and dislikes that we have of the world are really mental projections onto the world.  They are not coming from the world. And so when you begin to see that, then you begin to decipher how the mind is distorting reality on a constant momentary level...

I think the fraction line is very relevant to what we are talking about, because that fraction line is -- in a spiritual analogy -- the resistance factor.  The upper part of the fraction, or the numerator, which is all things that appear and we latch onto, hold onto, and grasp in life -- all appearances...Meanwhile, there is a common denominator to all of life that is waiting for us...that we have to cross that fraction line in order to experience and in order to embody.  Now crossing that fraction line is the entire spiritual journey.  It is the movement from the numerator toward the denominator that all spiritual paths point.

Much of Buddhism is about seeing the limited quality of anything that has an appearance, anything that has form.  In Christianity, too, Christ says, “Lay not up your treasures where rust does corrupt or thieves let in,” which means the same thing -- don’t focus and invest in the appearances of life.

And when we don’t do that, when we release the need to grasp and hold onto appearances that change, then we start crossing that fraction line and feeling -- and embodying really, because it has never left us -- the common denominator, which is that wholeness, that presence, that all encompassing awareness that is waiting for us...

And we take it as a numerator problem.  We think, “Oh, I just haven’t tried hard enough as a fraction, and that if I really tried hard has a fraction I could get to a whole number.”  And that's not the point.  The point is not to continue to assert the muscles of our numerator, because the numerator will never get us to the denominator.  It's seeing the limitations of the numerator, releasing the need to be, or abide, or grasp at the numerator that eventually evolves us into the common denominator.