The Invisible Man

You looked through me;
that’s what threw me.
It’s like I wasn’t there.
Don’t you care that I’m on fire?
A giant, flaming pyre of diseases of the mind?
I think you’ll find, upon inspection,
a singular infection: I exist.
What a twist! So unexpected!
I’m more than just figment
of your inner fascination. Not a
bump to stub your toe on; not a beach
to ebb and flow on: I have tides
all of my own. Not a stone to be hurled
at an unsuspecting world

I am not

the moral of your story.

Find, and You Shall Seek

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When ignorance is overturned, it transmutes into enlightenment. It is like melting ice into water; it is not something apart and does not come from elsewhere. All is contained in a single moment of mind.

– Chih-i

I seek a single moment of mind. And I find it, every single time, right where I left it. Right here. With me, in me, behind me, ahead of me, beckoning, waiting, answering and asking at once.

A single moment of mind, leading to single moments of mind, pointing to single moments of mind. Moments of mind that, collectively, constitute my self, intermingled with your self, and scattered amongst the infinity of Self itself.

The third of the Four Great Vows of the bodhisattva says: “Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them.” Or, as Thomas Cleary interprets it, it is the vow “to study all truths” (Cleary, Glossary to Stopping & Seeing, 1997). Of the four, this is the one that most clearly resonates with me: the search for Truth within all truth, the quest to ask all the answers through learning all the questions. My questions, your questions, their questions, today, tomorrow, and yesterday. The questions go on, they are continuous; how can the answers be other than the questions through which they are sought?

Chih-i also wrote: “Temporary expedients do not contain the true; it is the true that contains temporary expedients.” In other words, whereas we often envision answers as endpoints, in reality they are mere waystations in an ongoing journey. Today’s answer, properly understood, becomes tomorrow’s question. And so on. Infinitely. We always find, so we never arrive. And this is life. And life is enlightenment.

Another quote, from Stargate SG-1: “If you immediately know the candlelight is fire, then the meal was cooked long ago.” To assume I have the answers is to miss the point of the questions asked: it is to choose a solution before hearing the problem; it is to decide my fate before knowing who I am. It is to abandon the journey before it ever begins.

The path to Truth is not linear, although we often believe it so. The path to Truth is not even really a path. We stand simultaneously at the beginning and the end; the beginning is the end. The path to Truth is not a path. Truth is the path, and the path is truth: no more and no less. It is not ahead; it is not behind; it is not outside of us. Truth is not a destination, it is a realization.

We are never really there, because we are already here. We never really arrive, because, in truth, we never really left.

And the award for Most Disturbing Photo goes to…

So, my folks are moving to a new house they just built. In the process, they have been rummaging through old boxes, the contents of some of which haven’t seen the light of day since before we went to Argentina in 1987. The other day, I went over to their rental to help clear out the garage, and when I walked into the living room, this is what I found on the floor.

(Note: No arranging involved.)

Dollpic

Listen

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You must perceive world sound. You must perceive the sound of your voice. 

– Seung Sahn

Meditation, I think, is different for everyone who does it. It’s one of those things that suffer under too many rules, over-definition, because at its heart, it involves just…being.

For me, meditation is about listening. To everything. Being still and listening, being quiet and listening, being and listening.

The world speaks with many, many voices:

Bird choruses, high above, rebounding from one end of awareness to the other, species after species calling out in natural harmony–from the throaty shrill of the grackle to the metallic chirp of the cardinal. It is fauna gone stereo; it is everywhere at once.

The crescendoed buzzing of a mosquito in my ear. It is after me, but it is after me because it is alive, and I share with it in that life. We are, literally, blood brothers.

The insistent rapping of a red-headed woodpecker at the top of a nearby telephone pole: knock, and the worm shall be offered up to you.

Whispers of wind chasing one another around my head, and the feathery rustle of leaves sashaying in its wake. Memories ride on the breeze, tossing me back through time and space to the family farm and another breeze, identical yet different. I am reminded that all space and all time is hopelessly and inextricably interrelated; miles away, a world away, someone else listens with me, before me, after me, to the same different wind as I.

Suddenly, I’m hearing sounds that aren’t even there, sounds that I’ve heard before but long ago left behind: Vance Woods, this is your life!

The special crunch of gravel beneath my feet, sounding as it did only on that road, in that place, lost in the past, alive in the present. Voices of loved ones, some stilled by distance, others in death. The ricochet of bike tires off ramshackle cobbled streets: sounds today, aches and pains tomorrow. The past is the present writ large, and it too speaks in a multitude of dialects. Me llamo Eduardo–repeated over and over in decreasingly hesitant tones, back at the beginning of my adventure, back when I had just started to become.

Then, I begin to listen beyond, behind, underneath, and through. I begin to hear the pulse of existence, breathing, beating, just beyond the threshold of sound: the perpetual motion of being. Inhalation, exhalation. Life.

The world speaks, and I speak with it. It speaks to me, in me, and through me, in tones I often do not recognize, but, oh, when I do…Imagine my surprise!

What’s the old saying? I love listening to the sound of my own voice?

Here, at the heart of the world, the two, my own individual voice and the voice of the whole, are one and the same.

Eternity in an Instant

328px-ClessidraEternity dwells in the instant between Out and In. All that came before, all that comes after–this is but a shadow on the face of Now.

The past lives in me, but I cannot live in the past; the future waits for me, but I cannot wait upon the future. History weighs me down as the clock-face drags me forward. I must cut ties with either, lest I lose my Self to both.

Out. In. Life and death, promise and doubt, intermixed in a multitude of single moments.

As I breathe, I am eternal.
I need no farther horizon
.
There is no grander view.