...the work of understanding must be done by you, the reader. You've got to delve into your own experience. It doesn't become real merely by reading about it. Having an insight into your experience is not something you do on a whim, or merely by obtaining a chunk of knowledge. It takes looking into your inner workings, and as you, and... [it] starts with admitting that much of what you seem to know is only stuff you believe--perhaps have always believed--but have not personally experienced. Sometimes it takes the courage to say, "I've been pretending to know what everyone else seems to know, but I don't." It takes the courage to embrace not knowing as a real and present experience. This takes repeated efforts, which may be why Zen masters keep talking emptying your cup.
The main challenge of getting to a state of not knowing is that we always look for something to be there. When you ask yourself. "What is the state of not knowing?" you'll search for something that is that state. Try it and see what occurs. Although there really is a state of not-knowing, it isn't filled with anything, so there's nothing there. It's not that one's experience vanishes, or that all perception stops, but whatever is perceived or known in this moment is recognized as distinct from the state of not-knowing. Not knowing is what is not known. It's what is not perceived or experienced in any way, so attention on this state finds nothing. It is open, unfilled; empty, in a sense. A true experience of this state, however, is more dramatic than you would think. Outside of an experience, all we have of not-knowing is the concept of a state devoid of knowing, or the idea that something is not known. These are ideas, thoughts about it, which are not the same as the actual experience of not knowing. Such an experience frequently comes as an awakening. You may feel vulnerable or have various reactions to it, but when you look closely you'll see that the reactions aren't the state; they are reactions. Not knowing is simply a lot of nothing, but this can be a very powerful experience.
It is the emptiness within the cup that makes it useful.
- Lao tzu
Whatever your occupation in the world, be there and do the best you can. Make your life a meaningful one.
- Ron Rathbun