Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The title of this post is a teaser, since it suggests I'm about to write about the very interesting physics penomenon of entanglement, in which two particles are directly and instantaneously linked in time and space, despite a physical separation. (this "spooky" phenomenon is an active demonstration of the force Gurdjieff called "emanation.")

Alas, physics fans. We are off on a different tangent today.

I've been reading the record of Linji, which, typically of Zen texts, attempts to discard all attempts by the mind-as we ordinarly understand it- to understand anything. Above all, perhaps, the gift that Zen gives us is the gift of disentanglement from the world: a "leaving of home," an abandonment of all that we know and everything that gives saftey and comfort. I could say a number of things here about the potential and perhaps even real deficiencies of Zen- which despite its lofty practice retains distinctive features that, in the case of most masters, imply a partiality of development- but I won't. (Hurrah Zen. You are a good thing.)

Instead, what interests me today is the very real, physical, and substantial entanglement of my own Being with the real and material world. I was examining this question today during my sitting, in the context of the actual, ethereal, yet very real and "soupy" texture of ordinary consciousness and life, as opposed to what is actually necessary in the context of inner work and submission to a higher authority- not chunky beef, but a sweet, fragrant, and transparent broth.

Christ made it quite clear to us that we need to "lay up our treasures in heaven," yet this idea remains entirely intellectual. In reality, reality itself delivers within its own context the compelling and absolute conviction that we need to lay our treasures up right here, where we are. The mind, the body, the emotions- each one is quite literally entangled within its interactions with life.

It is a thickness unto death, this soup.

There is a potential for separation, but it is wholly unrealized. The necessary action of inner relationship, an intimate marriage to a higher principle, is steadfastly confused with the entanglements of this life. All the centers misunderstand this, when not acting in concert.

A close friend of mine on what one might call this "path of revelation" said to me today that the world does not need to be saved- that, in fact, the world is not even meant to be saved. He's exactly right in this: the world that needs a saviour, and that needs saving- the only world that can be saved- is the inner world, the world of relationship to God. No other action is necessary; no other saving is either required or possible; and no other saving is called for.

My entanglement with the outer world is an insoluable problem, an intentionally presented difficulty, an impossible task put in front of me solely in the hope that I may someday recognize that it IS insoluble, impossible: a koan, if you will, that Linji himself might have appreciated. His outright rejection of conceptual approachs leads us down a path toward this understanding, although the intentional obscurity of Zen texts leaves us, as always, a few steps short of the compassion needed to sniff out any potential destination.

This entanglement of mine is my own mistake; I dwell within it actively, perpetually, insistently, because I'm unable and even unwilling to understand how insuffcient it is. Surely sex, money, power, and food will sooner or later, in one way or another, be sufficient, I think to myself. I even actively deny the higher forces acting within me in favor of these chimeras. This is a daily, even a momentary, action: a thousand times a day I can come back to myself and see my abandonment of the sacred, which despite my inner blindness is perpetually present, and perpetually offered.

It's the highlight of my fallen nature, which I remain stubbornly not-present to. As Christ or Paul might have said, my belief in the world, rather than a knowing of God, is at the root of the nature of my sin. When I say I do not attend, it is exactly this that I do not attend to: the gifts of the Lord, freely given.

And how to seek? When I seek attention, to seek the attention of insistence, of "demand," of the pointed finger and the focused eye, is not enough. Even here, in the midst of great effort, I have mistaken what attention is.

There is only one attention to seek, only one attention that CAN be sought, and it is not turned in any of these directions.

It isn't turned in ANY direction: it simply exists in all directions, and it calls me to participate in, not to create, attention.

This is in the nature of true worship.

May our prayers be heard.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible post today – revelatory. In the game of "your hot, your cold", you have become plasma.

    This is where I stand. I believe that I am in the world which is screwed up, not understanding that it is the world that is in me that is screwed up.

    Where does that leave me in this predicament. Sweating from the bones – weeping blood, castrating IT, the THING; that tyrant who used to rule me; who used the force of life that flows through me and tricked me into thinking that there was a me to which the world belonged.

    There is no such me – that is the demon's trick, the Blinders he has used to sway me. No longer. No longer, Lord, will I fail to heed thy Word, because it is only your Word that flows through me as a different electricity – which gives me elasticity and freedom from so many banal and venal urges.

    God himself has been praying, since the foundation of the world – "O thou sons of men, why hast thou forsaken me. Abandoned me to cruelty, and left me on the cross?"

    Paul said it best, when he said: "The entire Creation groans in agony, as if in the pains of childbirth, eagerly awaiting the birth of the sons of men."

    In another place, someone wrote me this: "hope u don't mind that i'm writing 2 U...my mind is so aroused....just got back from the hospital-my girlfriend gave birth this A.M. after 20 hours of labor. It was so intense & so beautiful & bloody/It's been a long time since I had my children, i' forgot @ the drama {nursing releases a hormone , oxytocin, that makes U forget the pain, the same feeling you experience after making love} Oh my god....Frankie Jo Burns-welcome to planet earth. I think w/ my last baby I just grabbed the Dr. by his tie & said "kill me & take the child!!!!!" I'm exhausted. A new life -no matter how screwed up we think this earth is people."

    And here is my response:

    "That's so incredible, it brings this to mind: in the womb is heaven, and everything is touch, taste and hearing. Then the water breaks and the contractions begin. The womb now becomes hell, and the mother groans in agony while trying to push the baby out (with the help of breathing and nature); the baby struggles in ardor and with an indomitable and indefigatable force of will, fights to get out of hell.

    When his crown shows, this is the God moment, and then the head comes out with the senses, and the rest of the body comes easily. The baby must exhale first, the embryonic fluid. Then comes the holy shock, with the first inhalation of air. Blam! Then the doctors and nurses probably suction out the mucus of the placenta and clear the airways etc. In my day, the doctor held me by my ankles upside down and smacked me on my ass. "Welcome to the World". Birth is the baptism and the Confirmation all in One.

    Smack! Welcome to the world – this is what you can expect. Now you are in the middle of the blue and green puddle, your true mother – Earth. And when you first open your eyes, your father comes to greet you – Light. They are the ONLY ONES who can teach you" Let those who wish, know.


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