Tuesday, June 27, 2006


It's not the biography that matters, the list of places travelled and things done. It's the experience of being, being love, being, in love, from love, towards.

That comes close, this comes closer:

I awakened with the sun, knowing - feeling - Presence.

the One who is - two friends, there were others, with me, pressed around me
understood in a flash that there is no reason to worry
that my uncertainty was for nothing
that we are one, that we are together.
I carry them with me
but it was beyond words
the feeling of being filled, of being complete.
that life would never be the same
that it could not hurt this -
the we-are-one united, one.
I am that, woven of divine breath
I am filled, not with an energy that reaches out,
heavy, quietly powerful, a peaceful force.
these are not just words:
"I am with you always
I am one with you always
I and the father are one (who is I? who is father?)
not alone, never will be - all that I see is as much I am as...


Monday, June 26, 2006

Tipping point

Monday. Two to three foot surf and breakers... I could see the kite surfers from work, or at least the kites, and resolved to go play. And play I did, but man, the waves played me better. Finally went swimming. Which makes me think. Really, I probably didn't need to go over, and could've probably sculled and stayed upright. I don't know where the edge lies, with Plum Tree.

How many Zen Masters does it take to screw in a light bulb?

The plum tree in the garden.

Anyway. Tipping points. I don't know where the point of no return is in my boat, and I suspect she can go pretty far. But haven't really worked with it to know. There's something to be said for knowing the edge by playing near it. Also something to be said for just letting it know itself.

Two beloved friends are experiencing identity crises, of sorts.

One feels as though she should be doing more with her life - not satisfied with how she might be remembered, should she die tomorrow. Inspired to become the people she admires.

The other is learning to find balance, but feels imbalanced, in part because work isn't fun. We watched a sunset last night, on top of a parking garage, climbing from my car onto a pier for a better vantage, took photos of ourselves, the changing sky. It's humbling to be able to enter with a friend into moments of truly free living, and to be told that such things need to happen more often.

Is it unusual to look at the possibility of death and feel like nothing's been left undone?

Thursday, June 22, 2006


"I felt it again this morning, saw it, knew it
beyond feeling, beyond seeing, beyond knowing.
Fell in, moved with, danced together.
As I breathe now, I feel it:
Rising, falling, the universe breathes with me...

...breathes me forward."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ways of Dancing

Earlier we dismissed Bohr's planetary model of the atom with the promise that we later would see "how physicists currently think of an atom." Well, the time has come, but the task is a thorny one. We gave up our old picture of the atom so easily because we assumed that it would be replaced by one more meaningful, but equally as lucid. Now it develops that our replacement picture is not a picture at all, but an unvisualizable abstraction. This is uncomfortable because it reminds us that atoms were never "real" things anyway. Atoms are hypothetical entities constructed to make experimental observations intelligible. No one, not one person, has ever seen an atom. Yet we are so used to the idea that an atom is a thing that we forget that it is an idea. Now we are told that not only is an atom an idea, it is an idea that we cannot even picture. ...

In short, physicist still think of an atom as a nucleus around which move electrons, but the picture is not so simple as that of a tiny solar system. The electron cloud is a mathematical concept which physicists have constructed to correlate their experiences. Electron clouds may or may not exist within an atom. No one really knows. However, we do know that the concept of an electron cloud yields the probabilities of finding the electron at various places around the nucleus of an atom, and that these probabilities have been determined empirically to be accurate.

119-120 The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav, emphasis mine

"Reality" is merely the system of thought that we devise to make sense of (and help understand some order in) the things that we experience. The more we observe, naturally, the simpler such a system becomes, to produce with ease such a variety of observations.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pain and expectation

I am finding myself increasingly detached (and seemingly paradoxically) more deeply able to engage in the present.

When somebody labels something as pain, we develop an expectation that it'll be "bad". But if we just describe as intense, then it is what one makes of it. Perhaps good, perhaps bad, perhaps neither. True detachment, it seems, requires observation, without labels, without expectation.

Yesterday at the launch, I accidentally stepped into a hole (while holding half of a seventy pound boat, of course) and took the path of least resistance. Oh, I flow like water. Rather than twist some joint that isn't made to twist while making an off-balance recovery, or dropping the boat, I went down, scraped an ankle on the edge of the concrete stepping into the hole, and my other knee and foot as they landed.

So if something is observed without labels, then what?

I was on my feet in a second, of course I was okay, no, I didn't need to rest. Changed into pants afterward to go out for dinner, and thus forgot about my incident until much later in the evening. Realized my delinquency and rushed into the bathroom to mend my oversight. The sensation of properly washing my abrasions was intense, but not painful, even refreshing.

Then, it seems, it is as it is, and seen as such.

In between, nothing and everything.

A significant event, about which I have nothing to say - and which I cannot describe.

On Monday, sometime between sleep and waking, I realized the world as it is, and knew, without a doubt. Had another moment of knowing sometime mid-morning, as I sat back with my hands behind my head.

What was it? Experiencing all-as-one, but those words fall short. What was it like? With a shrug and a smile, I respond - I forget.

Trinity, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi

Last week was Trinity Sunday. The bulletin suggested that study of such a mystery is best left to the theologians, but I disagree: what's the point of a mystery if it can be understood? When I was a child, the Trinity was explained with the apple analogy; core, peel, meat. Each are part of the apple but none the whole of it. (I don't necessarily agree with this view). Several years ago I was introduced to the idea that we understand the parts of the Trinity where God acts - Father as Creator, Son as Redeemer, and oddly I can't remember the action/word for the Holy Spirit.

Here is another way of seeing. God is God, and the Lord is one. The Father could be considered as the Unmanifest. The Son, Christ, as the Manifest, all that which can be said to exist. (Yes, you and I, too.) The Holy Spirit is the thing that moves among them; among the Unmanifest, among the Manifest, between the two. (Inadequate words, if I find better ones, I'll add them.) Each is complete by itself. Each fully encompasses the others.

I've probably heard that before, but I see/understand/know it now. The words are just labels, pointing at concepts... which correspond to my experience. It's inordinately helpful to have some sort of framework by which to make sense of experience.

Corpus Christi is today and Pentecost was three weeks ago. Pentecost was about us - God dwelling in us. Corpus Christi, too, is about us - we are the body of Christ. God is outside of us, and God is us, and God dwells in us. Or, we are outside of God, and we are within God, and we contain God. The whole, together - which is, which isn't, and which is among them - is the fullness of God. And yet, so are we.

Complete in essence, incomplete in form - I'm only certain of the former.

Getting it? No? Then stop thinking. (That road doesn't go there.) You will.

As I said, this is better left with the mystics.

It is not understood by those who understand it; it is understood by those who do not understand it.
-Kena Upanishad


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Reference Frame

I paddled again today.

Out in open water, uncertainty. Confused water, moving in many directions. Realizing that there would be no rhythm, I just would have to move with it. Easier to feel it, at first, with eyes closed, but needed to stay off the seawall. It was strange. I got used to it.

A mile and a half around the seawall and into the harbor. Rainbow's End, my old love, immense and firmly graceful as I paddle up to her. I remember her well. Racing; moving, five people as one, dancing in unison through the starting sequence, the rhythm of upwind legs, flying the spinnaker, performing the perfect jibe, the intensity and laziness of distance racing, sleeping in pipe berths in some strange harbor. My heart aches.

Back out into the lake, and I discover a beach a mile north from my launch point. Today was cloudy, it's well into dusk, sunset still leaving the sky, pinkish, huge backlit clouds deep bluish purple. Heading into the beach, reflections of the city's sodium sparkle in big pools amid others of deepest blue silk.

I look around. To the south, the skyline, crystal clear. To the north, sky reflected on water; shards of turquoise amid deepness. It grows dark, but is too early to head back directly. I turn away from the city, using the three mile crib for navigation, intending to ride back with the swells.

The water is velvet; smooth, indistinct. Can't make out the horizon. Dark shapes, the facing side of swells, it seems, move toward and around me; they might be any size, at any distance. Absolutely no depth perception, I can't interpret what I am seeing. It doesn't mean anything; without a frame of reference, terror begins to rise. There is nothing to understand, only to watch, to be with. My boat appears crisp, resistance against paddle, solid; beyond it is nothing. But the water, is as if it doesn't exist except as it touches my boat; out there, somewhere, beyond. Ever moving, ever changing, yet immutable in nature. Accept, embrace, absorb. Nightfall. Untouchable velvet, uncertain shadows, seamlessness of sky and water.

Far from tired, but it's time to return. Stop, sit, sense, be; velvet, silk, glass, sodium. Direction is easy; distance, unknowable in darkness. I miss my launching spot on the beach by a quarter mile, carry over packed sand, but do not return to earth.


As it turns out, I was out for two and a half hours, and paddled more than six miles. Based on bearings and fixed points, I estimate that the penultimate leg was well past a mile in length, and the return to the beach was more than a mile and a half over open water, in the city's dark.

But... there's more to say, that cannot be said: beyond logic, beyond words, beyond thoughts. How amazing it was to be out there. And how silent, within. How surreal, surrounded by nothing, but how right, and how wonderful to be alone among it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

An eternity, in two and a half hours.

It's an easy launch from the beach; I've done this dozens of times, but never onto the lake.

Inland, there is only the wind to contend with; as fetch increases, so does chop, and water over the bow. A 13.5' kayak is a different animal than a 33' racing sailboat. This water is calm at that scale, but now, every degree, every inch, is significant. Every point of sail is a new experience. I let the wind and growing wavelets take me out, wonder how I'll turn back.

The moment I stop paddling, there is no contention. My kayak shows me, calmly chartreuse, bobbing in a foot of chop, that she can handle this; the going may be work, at times, but I needn't worry. I relax.

In the lee of the pier, long swells run over deeper water; I surf. A couple of sailboarders reach back and forth, planing; we cross close enough to exchange exhilarated grins.

The waves teach me. The wind teaches me. Together, we play. Rise and fall, rise and fall. I find the rhythm; we move together, I-boat-paddle-water. Between inhale and exhale, there is heaven.

Time is no more. Only a few minutes from shore to swells, every moment a pleasant hour, everything I am, dancing. The skyline twinkles in hazy perfection; I notice with a start that dusk has settled, paddle in, land. There is nothing but this,

Inhale, exhale, is.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

This means something.

Epistle to a friend departing

There! I saw it, love, light in your eyes, joyful lines. On a few very dark nights, I thought to wake you, not for words, but just to see. I studied them to guess your age, too well, burned into my mind. But I did not wake you, instead, looked at your car, gazed up at your window, remembered, let hope live on.

I know you are leaving, but not when, just soon. A pang of sadness, to see your car no longer on my block, the car that let me know, as they say, God's in his heaven, and all's well in the world: it reminded me of you. Perhaps our memories are stronger than our selves, a promise perhaps not filled to the brim, but, perhaps, just enough: I'll always have your smiling eyes.

Friday, June 02, 2006

not / enough

Maybe I came into existence just a second ago, apparently in the midst of writing, apparently in the midst of a conversation, apparently with a computer on my lap, and music playing nearby, and... well, all this, here, around me.

But it seems familiar, and I seem to remember a past, fuzzy at times, I seem to remember some spots in it that were not like this sharply aching incompletion. If this, right here, right now, which meets the eye, is all... it is not enough. Half-blind, groping in the dark, there is more that I do not see or find.

I close my eyes and feel the vastness of space. Thumb against finger, hand folded in hand, elbow bruising leg, sitting cross-legged and on my foot, familiar closeness of self. I am a grain of sand, I hold a universe within, I am.