If you allow everything to drop away, realization may occur. It is usually not earth-shattering at all, however, just great simplicity in turning your light to shine within. You take your mind just as it is and focus on it—shine your awareness on it. It’s mind on mind. That’s the backward step. This practice takes time, so you shouldn’t get discouraged. It requires discipline and training to turn your light to shine within. Direct your attention and closely observe your own awareness. Ask yourself, where is my awareness, right now?

You can’t study Zen just by reading and thinking about it; intellectual understanding is not Zen. Words just point the way. Learn to take the backward step that turns your light inward, illuminating your true self. Then, without a doubt, your original face, your original mind, will appear.

From Mind Sky: Zen Teaching on Living and Dying by Jakusho Kwong, © 2022. Reprinted by permission of Wisdom Publications.

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