There is no I and there is no other.
How can there be intimacy or estrangement?
I recommend giving up trying to get there by meditation,
But rather, directly seizing the reality at hand.
The message of the Diamond Sutra is:
Nothing is excluded from our experienced world.
From beginning to end,
It inevitably exposes our false identities.
Layman P’ang (740-808)
This is quite a jolt of a poem, don’t you think? This whole “exposure” process is interesting. Natural. How every spring, the snow melts away and reveals both a round of casualties and, also, a round of new life. Body of a squirrel. Barren tree. Rotting couch cushion. Tulip blooming. Burst of bee balm. Newborn robin. Shiny bicycle.
How every autumn the trees go bare, the grass goes brown, the wild growth of summer goes underground.
Natural, and yet how often are we simply afraid of being exposed. Of undergoing this expanding into view, and/or stripping away?
Spring comes to our identities. And so does winter. I once taught in English classrooms; now I do not. I once was afraid of public speaking; now I do it all the time.
But being in this movement between the seasons is easier said than done. Especially given how our mass culture tends to highly discourage such flow. And how so many of us are disconnected from the actual seasons themselves, the planetary ebbs and flows happening all around us.
This fierce call to “seize” from Layman P’ang, to me, is a reminder of that disconnection. How our minds figure out so many ways to impede our life from bursting forth completely. And because of this, there’s a need for strong effort. For rousing up a willingness to be exposed again and again.
It seems to me that we have the option to be proactive, deliberately choosing to explore our various identities and ways of being in the world, or to be dragged by the world screaming and kicking into such work. Either through bottoming out experiences, or at the end of our lives, when there’s no time left to live out the insights.
I invite you all to reaffirm your commitment to being more proactive. To reconcile with the seasons – inwardly and outside of yourself.
Today, I embrace late autumn, with all its cloudy, cold winds, sweeping away whatever needs to go.
When Seasons Collide via Flickr Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.