Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Number Nine

We are here to learn.  Beyond love, all we can give each other is the truth.

We live alone inside our perceptions, deluded by the need to see only the good.  The mind arranges our memories so the flaw is hidden, so it becomes "not me."  The mind covers the mirror of events.

There is nothing to know but what happened, nothing to keep but the verity of what we've done.  The witness holds a looking glass -- one version of the truth of us.

It sears and heals, a reminder of what we wanted to become.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Number Eight

In Plato's cave we are afraid of the light.  In truth, we have entered the cave precisely for what can be learned in the dark.  In the life between lives there is no fear.  And so nothing can be learned that requires fear.

In the cave each step is uncertain; we can't see the wall or the precipice.  We live not knowing where each footfall takes us, and that is the cave's purpose.

In the dark, we make up our own images.  We create god, ourselves, each other.  This is necessary because we cannot see.  But what we invent starts to become true.  In the cave we take the first steps to making a universe.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Number Seven

Nothing on earth is more important than pain.  We come here knowing how to love.  What we need to learn is how to love because of -- and despite -- pain.

The great task of life is learning to maintain an I-Thou (see Martin Buber) relationship in the face of pain.  Pain demands that we cope, do something.  And that something is to make relationship I-It, to make the other something to manipulate, coerce, or destroy.  In I-It, the other is not human, with human fear, longing, hope, and hurt.  The other is a commodity -- something to be used.  Or discarded.  Pain transforms the other into It.

The central task of life is to resist the impulse to dehumanize, and to see the Thou while being hurt, frustrated, or profoundly disappointed.

I-It is the source of all evil.  Whether it be small emotional shivs, or a terrorist bombing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Number Six

If we come here to learn and the pain teaches us, we come also to see through the pain -- to know that what hurts us all, holds us all; that what we individually suffer, we all share.  The night surrounds us, at the same time holding all the light.  Just as the dark emptiness of the universe holds all the stars.

We do anything to rid ourselves of pain, but it is our only source of knowledge. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Number Five

It's all good -- the joy, the loss, the cruelty, the beauty.  It's all good -- the violent blow and tender touch, the avarice and selfless gift, sweet kindness and addiction.  These are the ways we learn, become.  These are the paths that teach us.

In one important way, all paths are equal, all deserving to be loved: they lead to what we came here to know.  It's all good -- the triumph and failure, the love discovered and the love ruined.  Because it's all life, a play we agreed to be in.  A story full of what we needed here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Number Three

When we enter the garden, the place we sought of belonging and peace, the light comes from a certain angle of the sun.  As the sun moves, the shadows lengthen.  Each face is caught in darkness and light.

The garden changes, becoming lonely and then hidden.  Dangerous.  The place we sought becomes the place we run from.  It is the same place.  It is the garden of day and night.

The person we loved becomes the person we leave. It is the same person.  The place that felt home becomes, in every room, a cue for regret.  For the surprising bitterness when the sun changes, and all that was there, and was expected to go on, turns dark.

In the garden of day and night we cling to the day and lose it.  Then the dark seems everything there is.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Number Two

The loneliness takes hold at the instant of birth.  We have bathed in the River Lethe, the waters of forgetfulness.  And all we know is that something is wrong; we are lost, unreachable.  We hunger to merge and our bodies prevent us.  We long to feel part of "the whole." Yet we can't hear the chords of a song that surrounds us.

The loneliness is so loud it drives us to the silence of each other's arms.  Pressing.  Full of the effort to speak, to know, to enter.  The loneliness is so loud that all we can hear is our own heartbeat, the mortality of empty space.

Everything we do requires it -- the exile with no memory of what home is, the faces we don't recognize, the path that leads nowhere except death.  Everything we learn demands this isolation -- the confines of bone and flesh, a life in the outposts where our greatest need seems so far away.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Number One

Mountains shatter. The water freezes, widening cracks until the talus crashes down. We wait below the cliff.  As if the wind, pressing the crags and turrets, would finally tell the truth.  But this is merely the beauty of decay, things perfect in their falling apart.

So we push up the high trails, our legs lifting us – against gravity, against pain, against all thought of giving up.  Lifting us to the place where nothing cares, nothing matters, the place where there is only granite.  But the truth is not in the granite.  It is in the legs, it’s in the will. It is the mere decision – to climb.

Number Four

The light always goes out.  The breath eventually stops. The body cools; reaching the temperature of surrounding air.

Light and darkness become one.  The breath, in ceasing, becomes one with stillness.  A body finally joins the emptiness, the space between lives.  Every form of stopping, of dying, is a form of joining.  Of  returning.

The light always goes out.  The breath hesitates, quiets. Nothing is clear, nothing is known -- except in its opposite. As wind is defined by the lull between susurrant  bursts, whatever lives is made from the stillness and the dark.