Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Number Thirteen

In the silence, as we wait to rejoin each other, as we touch reverently the objects that connect us to the dead, something is born.  In the silence, where we no longer hear or see the beloved, where all the conversations we were given seem to have ended, we go on looking alone.

Whatever we learned from the other, we now must learn without the other.  And what we knew as truth together, must be found again -- changed as light changes on water -- inside.  Though the water is the same, the aspect is different.  Though the conversation somewhere goes on, here it is unheard.  Here is the bitter quiet.

The silence is necessary.  It is part of the conversation, an ellipsis between words.  It is a lesson in waiting, in uncertainty.  A form of the truth only found in the absence of what we always counted on.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Number Twelve

"When I was a child I thought as a child," the saint says.  We come here to be children, to have bodies driven by emotion, by impulse.  We come here to have an angry mind, a sad mind, a frightened mind, and to run -- like a horse before the teamster's whip -- toward whatever escape, whatever momentary respite from the pain.

The choice to run is mostly a child's choice.  Because the pain is all around, the light is all around, and there is no way to get past any of it.  But we keep trying to escape, and it is why our childhood goes on.  In life after life -- with the luminous shards of each mistake -- the struggle to see with a child's sight continues.  There is nothing wrong, nothing to be fixed.  It is just long.  Necessary.  Forgivable.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Number Eleven

Certainty is the antidote to fear.  And the path to blindness.  Certainty fuels conviction and razor-edged rules.  It spurs action without knowledge -- sometimes courageous, many times destructive.

Beliefs born of certainty harden, become swords of emotional violence.  They cut and wound.  They kill love because love -- above all -- accepts, softens around each necessary flaw.

Certainty divides the world into what is rejected and embraced; held or flung away.  It is the defense of the righteous, the self-willed.  It is what war -- in every form -- is made of.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Number Ten

The sound of truth, like some harmony only the wise can hear, rings out in the spiritual salons and in the clerics' quarters; it is heard from the high pulpits and after eating peyote.

But the sound of truth -- the words and rhythms -- are just seduction.  The emotion of certainty is just an emotion -- no more true or false than any other.  The mind says "yes" because the mind seeks confirmation and agreement with what has already been learned.  The mind seeks the exquisit relief of order and linearity.  Of the great one who can finally explain our pain, our waiting in this dark.  The mind is always ready to say "yes."  Because yes is wired into us, into our hunger to make sense of this place.

The sound of truth deceives us because it is just a sign, a feeling that we are looking in the direction of the light.  The light holds a million versions of the truth -- no one of them complete or whole.  Each is the partial wisdom of one moment, looking across one vista.  Each is a moment of great vision and a lie.  Because certainty seduces; and in that certainty every other vantage place is lost.

The sound of truth is always partial, an invitation to a million other places to stand and watch, and find the words for what is seen.