Thursday, May 29, 2008

Penetration

Today, some observations that are just directly from now.

I am a bit tired today, and as is often the case when I am tired, I am softer.

When I am softer like this, a lot of questions about my life arise. I see, when I actually see where I am--with more than just one center--, that I don't know at all where I am. There are times when the entire aspect of this planet takes on a very alien character and is difficult for me to comprehend in any fashion whatsoever. Things that are quite ordinary and have names which I see every day turn into objects I am unable to understand, to know, or even to think about. They are just there, and I am here, and I don't know anything about them.

As I was leaving the supermarket today, I watched a very tiny baby crying on his mother's shoulder. I could see that he was in pain and bewildered because he finds himself in his body, which he doesn't understand or know anything about. Everything probably looks as strange to him as it does to me, I think.

For a moment, I feel a real moment of brotherly compassion for this tiny little guy. I can see he somehow knows, like I do, that he is on a messed-up planet, with a tremendous amount of work in front of him, and that things will not get any easier as time goes on.

Driving back to the office, the shadows falling on the road don't look like shadows. Each one is a living creature. The cars are creatures.

The colors are creatures.

I ask myself, did I cry like that when I was a baby? I probably did, but I see that I don't know.

I think about a remark a yogi reputedly made many hundreds of years ago when asked to offer a single thought about what man's existence consisted of.

He replied "Men are born, they suffer, and they die." we begin suffering at birth, and in one way or another, we stagger in confusion through this life, suffering most of the time. Within that suffering, we grow. I see that this is true. It leaves me with many questions when I read a text like the Flower Ornament Sutra, which I am still immersed in (and will be for some time, as it is a truly gargantuan, massive tome.) Everything there is endless, magnificent bliss.

Can that be legitimate? I know a good deal about that pink-cloud alternative from some direct personal experience, but in the end I didn't accept it. ...Should I have accepted it? Was I mistaken? It's difficult to reconcile this question of actual suffering with the question of bliss. I truly don't know the answer to that. I just know that dwelling in nothing but an ocean of bliss does not seem to be enough of a demand. More is required if a man wants to develop. I think he can stop there if he wants to, but I am not sure that it is a destination.

At this moment, what comes to mind is Jesus nailed to a cross. There is the intersection of man's suffering and internal bliss: a koan presented and paid for in blood.

So today I am softer. I am less assuming, less convinced, and certainly more skeptical of all the enterprises that I undertake, that we undertake. In this condition, it seems as though something a bit unusual can penetrate me. It is back to this question of living-within-vibration that I raised the other day.

I see that there is a division between what I call "me" -- that is, what I usually experience as my consciousness -- and what I actually am, which is a set of forces I don't know much about. In this seeing of the separation of the self from the self, I understand that the "self" is not the Self. Once I understand that there is a separation, then I have to come back to something which is within the single Self, and no longer fuss about the question of separation of "self" from Self.

I know this sounds confusing. So I will try to say it another way.

Often, in a day, I see the necessity of abandoning this question of self and not-self and just being within what is.

This is where I lack of understanding. There is a moment when everything can be thrown away and there can just be this, which is. It's strange to me how tangible this is, how often in a day I know this is true, that this vibration and energy penetrate me, and yet how easily I slip away from it (no, it doesn't slip away from me. It's always there, waiting for me to come back.)

I see that above all I am very clever and good at theorizing. This almost always enters, trying to define something that does not need the killing jar of intellectual definition. Cleverness is very attractive to me. It's probably a bad habit that I should try to give up.

But even that, I see, would be artificial. This is how I am. I am supposed to live with that, not fix it.

I see that as I encounter all these impressions of life--which are quite ordinary impressions today, nothing special is happening--that there is a tension in me as I resist the arrival of life.

I need to relax a little bit and just let go of that.

Above all, the effort has to be to become more simple.

Neal and I will be away at a work weekend, so there may not be another post until Sunday or Monday. Until then,

May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.

1 comment:

  1. It is a choice really, how we see the world. We choose to see it as suffering, and we can just as easily see it as joy. We can see it as fallen and corrupt, or we can see it as creation and beauty in progress.

    We can see the body as susceptible to corruption; as something without will, merely to be acted upon. Or we can see that the mind is wholly in command of the body and able to "perfect" it... and by extension, the world as well.

    As the Buddha holds up the flower, how do you see it? How do you PERCEIVE it. As separate or as the self? As suffering or as joy. This is the lesson of the flower sutra. The buddha gave the lesson without words. Men added endless commentary.

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