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Back to just outside London, a suburban McDonalds. Not many people know this, but over the past 3-4 years I must have spent literally 1000s of hours sitting in McDonalds, just contemplating.
Of all the places I could walk to, I kept ending up here. I would sit for hours at a time, holding an empty coffee cup. I was talking to someone about this and how it's really the perfect place in the city to contemplate the nature of mind.
The thing with environments like McDonalds and Zen monasteries, is that they are very, brutally impersonal. They're not like a cute little cafe where you can really feel the owner. It's not like a country pub where all the customers will be chatting to you. You go in there, and there is no celebration of the individual whatsoever. The nature of mind, also known as Awareness, or Shiva consciousness, is also like this. It's really not interested in stories about who you are or how you relate to people.
A lot of stuff can happen in a McDonalds, but the space remains unchanged, it wipes clean, the staff return to their robotic duties and it's like nothing ever happened. The nature of mind is just like this. Your head can be full of crazy shit, then the next second, completely different.
When you sit in McDonalds a long time you really get a feel of the unchanging nature of the raw material of consciousness. A young couple flirt there. Businessmen come and go. Homeless guy looking for coffee stamps. Someone spills a milkshake, yellow cone out, mopping, yellow cone goes. Bored kids bullying a softer kid. Family with a cute kid totally tripping on Coca Cola.
Everyone can do what they like in McDonalds, it's all allowed. McDonalds can handle it all and still open for breakfast at 6 the next day. Mind is the same. It opens for business, a bunch of thoughts about various things come, they do their things, then go. Even the thoughts about the state of mind are just more content. The content has always changed but the vehicle remains simply there.
Ironically, it's being in touch with the totally wipe clean nature of mind that lets us be very patiently and lovingly engaged with whatever happens in it. If we have this faith in the indestructible nature of our mind, then we are going to be able to bring patience, love and clarity to whatever is going on. It's the heart of the Indian yogic and the Buddhistic philosophies, coming to rest in the changeless nature of Awareness, the Self, Rigpa, Pure mind.
A lot of people moan about the impersonality of places like Starbucks and McDonalds, and the isolation experienced in the city. I see it slightly differently, that actually there is a fundamental human desire to fall in love with the total loneliness of existence. If someone has glimpsed or recognised this truth, they will likely be drawn again and again towards it, toward the sweet scent of the release of transcendence. Traditionally, people cultivating this masculine side of consciousness go in the quietness of deep nature, but in the cities, these anonymous places are the closest thing to being truly alone.
Interestingly in the last 3-4 years as I have been falling in love with the Void, I have also lost about 10kg (seriously!). So don't believe the Supersize Me movie. The evidence shows if you sit for 1000s of hours in McDs you will not only lose weight but free your mind. Lol.
#RealZen #fastfoodsphilosophy #lovethevoid #SuperSpaceMe #mcdzogchen #dzogchen