Alex (Student): When you’re talking about feeling overwhelmed, that’s exactly how I’m feeling right now. I feel like I have too much coming at me and I can’t deal with it, and my first reaction is to like run away.
Genpo Roshi: OK, let’s work on this. Look in right now and tell me which me you just said it’s too much for. You tell me. You look in, and you describe this me that this is too much for. What me are you talking about? You see if you can find a me in there. If you can find a me, I’ll say OK, I get it. But you’ve got to present this me to me.
A: (laughs) OK. The fearful me.
GR: You don’t have a me. You have fear, but you don’t have a me. What me? What self? What are you talking about? Where’s Alex’s true self right now, even before his parents were born, where is it? Where’s this me? Where’s this Alex, where’s this self? I just see a name and a body.
Come on, you’re a smart guy. Where’s this me?
A: I understand what you’re saying
GR: You do? Then that’s too much, you shouldn’t.
GR: If I haven’t gotten past your understanding, then I’m not doing my job. You don’t understand what I’m talking about. You’re smart, but you’re not that smart.
GR: You’re basically screwed, man. You can’t find the one suffering. You can’t keep complaining that you haven’t let it go. You can’t find it. What can you let go of? You haven’t even found it yet. What self? What me? What I? Who’s Alex?
What’s going on?
A: (laughs) I’m kind of speechless.
GR: Good. Stay that way. Now you’re meditating. This is active meditation, where you’re really inquiring, ‘Where the hell is Alex, where is this guy?’ And when you come up emptyhanded enough that you realize finally Alex is ungraspable, you’ll be free, out of the box. You can’t grasp Alex. You try. You’re closer to him than I am; you can’t grasp him.
A: (laughs) Thank you.
GR: You’re welcome, my friend. Keep it up. You’re doing good.
He’s speechless, let’s move on.
-- Sunday Talk with Genpo Roshi, January 23, 2022