You, dear readers, may feel by now that you are getting more than your fair share of photographs of Buddhas from Lingyin temple in Hangzhou. This one, like many of the carvings that still exist -- bunches were destroyed -- is from the Yuan dynasty, or, about 400 years old.
I could post pictures of electrical components that I took this morning in Shenzhen, but somehow, they just don't seem to have the same charm.
If you stop to think about it, all of us live most of our life in an atmosphere of explanation. Our educational system is designed, from the ground up, to explain the world and its workings; our religions and metaphysics, to explain the unseen.
Even the most sophisticated teachings, which assert that the unseen cannot be explained, become, perversely, explanatory anti- explanations.
I routinely have to listen to the league of anti-explainers (numerous friends of mine are members, but mostly by imitation) prattle on about entering "the inner silence" and wonder (cynic that I am) why, if it's silence that holds the key and silence that we must seek, they don't stop talking about it.
In the same way, perhaps we all ought to just stop discussing "the energy." I'd say there's more than a flagon or two of "Don't do as I do, do as I say" ale served at the average Gurdjieff dinner table when it comes to these matters.
I am not one to speak too much about silence, because I value it. And at the same time I am not shy about participating in the merry-go-round of explanation, which my fellow seekers sanctimoniously proclaim they are not actually riding, even as they grab for the rings.
The whole thing reminds of the joke about the Christian scientists in hell, chanting "we're not here."
Well, me little droogies, we ARE here.
In his expositions on cause and effect, Dogen demonstrated-satisfactorily, I think- that everything has a reason ...whatever it is. And that may be true. Whether it is or it isn't, in exercising the mind, it seems near-impossible to escape from this hamster wheel of explaining.
Smacking up against the wall of explanations are massive waves of things which definitely cannot be explained. They outnumber the explanations by such a healthy margin that we need not fear. The weight of our experience always rests on a foundation of the inexplicable. There's no real danger of the explained pulling the carpet out from under the unexplained, and there never will be, except, perhaps, in the paranoid fantasies of radical preachers.
In the face of the explained-that is, my usual experience, my usual state- I welcome the unexplained. That is, those moments when immersion in life transcends encounter with it.
That immersion consists of tangible contact with the inner roots, awareness of outer impressions--and ever-present mysteries that we then may taste, but can never touch with the tongue.
Whenever I come up against this question of immersion in life, which just accepts the current condition without presupposing, I end up in a place where I don't know anything at all. Or, rather, what I know is primarily emotional and physical. When I try to think things out, I see that the mind is inadequate to grasp the enormity of how temporary this life is, and how little we attend to one another.
I find myself understanding that every moment I am having is the first and last time I will ever have that moment.
It's a sobering condition.
All of this goes back to the question of value, which we must continually investigate. Our failure to value (which stems in large part from the inadequate development of our emotional presence) is at the heart of why we are asleep. Even a vague taste of real value wakes us up a bit more. It's a theme that needs to be revisited over and over again in the context of our failure to sense..
As Mr. Gurdjieff so famously said,
Du mein Vergnügen,
Du meine Lust."
May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.