You are so eloquent, I here it, but I feel a deep river ahead of me to forge, slow and easy.
I have been waiting for this day * I will read this over and over to let it sink in, I am so grateful
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The first rays of a new dawn touched me so lightly, waking me from slumber. I yawned and stretched, but my eyelids kept battling against this intrusion, growing even heavier with each effort by me to open them.
Finally, I just relax, and began to notice the light itself. How it silently and effortlessly grew, seeping through my closed eyelids that regardless of their continued efforts to remain closed were quite helpless against this silent and certain intruder.
I began to be more and more fascinated with the play of this light as its increasing brightness began also to bring a subtle, delicious warm to me.
And then, the sound in the distance of the day's first bird singing. It seemed in this field of my growing willingness to surrender and delight in the light's growing presence, even this first sound was made even more glorious, even more mysterious, even more divine. The sound seemed to go through me, through every cell like a gentle wave of some cosmic orgasm.
And I smiled. The light had seduced me into some state of openness, relaxation, and softness and until the bird sang, I had not known it had already opened every cell in my body to this new dimension of union, of communion, of Oneness.
Immediately upon the ceasing of the bird's song which took just a moment I observed a simple thought arise, and am surprised again not at the thought but at the spacious quiet field in which it has arisen, like the ripples of a single pebble tossed into a clear, still pond.
The thought was Beauty.
Excited, enlivened, my eyes opened. Now they seemed eager to lead me as I threw off the covers and went to the window, eager to drink in through my sight the rolling fields of organic gardens from which I ate heartily last night, here at this Zen Retreat Center high in the mountains near Nagano, Japan.
I wondered what was growing in the rows of plastic-covered tubes below my window. Another thought arose: "Aren't they too close together?"
Just then, the first mists of a cloud rising from the valley below began to dim the light and warmth of the morning light, and I shivered, realizing I am still naked and so I hurriedly turn to find my robe, and quickly don it.
And the mist is growing heavier, filtering through the yellow leaves of the poplar trees that had been shimmering in light just moments ago.
Then, I noticed a new phenomena arise within me. A subtle gesture of disappointment.
But by now, you see, I have mastered the secret key. And all those years of 'turning the mind back upon itself' mentioned in the opening teachings of the Way of the Heart, digging deeper into the constructs of ego had long since proven priceless, delivering me from self-induced blindness and the torment of an on-going suffering hidden in secret just beneath the projected smile I used to show the world.
And so I gently watched this new phenomena, and quickly found its source in a thought born of a desire emerging not from Oneness but from what interrupts it: my "I" that had decided it wanted things to be other than they were as light gave way to misty greys, dimming the color of the poplar leaves.
My eyes returned to the rows of plastic tubes, and this time, letting go of my own tiny mind, they returned to Suchness, to themselves, arising like sunlight and mist from Mystery itself. My heart opened wide in amazement that they could be at all!
And the Word returned:
And the opening of my heart presaged a rising of a certain feeling quality, and the quality was one of Love.
And as love wafted everywhere throughout my being, a new clarity opened in awareness. Like a note struck from a crystal glass, this new clarity arose first, and from it a new Word: Good. For the living substance of all possesses equally with Beauty an inherent Goodness. And as this ripple expands it but deepens this palpable Oneness I, too, arise from.
And then it happened as it does now countless times, often quietly, every day. It arose as I wheeled my suitcase through a sea of Japanese yesterday, scurrying to and fro (but with such orderliness and quiet!) at the Tokyo train station, and like continuous waves as I made my home in the breathing, immersing in the prayer of In the Name as the city steel and concrete gave way to streams and trees, the bullet train whisking me toward these mountains.
It is both Word and Feeling, as if Beauty and Good were making love in my soul, giving rise to their own birthing of something precious beyond all price. I know it well. And it has made everything, every step of the spiritual journey of transfiguration worth it, even when it seemed hopeless, and there was only darkness within.
For the final Word is also the one realization, the one Remembrance, the Home the soul craves, its absence gnawing in the secret places within until we have no choice but to seek it with passionate devotion until it again flowers to life as it was in the ancient beginning, before we dreamed the dream of Separation, and created our own 'me, myself, and I' and believed the useless could ever be useful, that the meaningless could insist on meaning, and the valueless could be made valuable.
And the final Word emerged, just as the morning light again began to appear, dissolving the temporary mist; the leaves of the poplar trees are shining again.
Holy. All things are Holiness, Itself, when no longer veiled by the shield my muttering mind casts upon them. These three:
These are the qualities of the Real World. Forever shimmering, here, right where Heaven IS, and shall remain, waiting on our welcome of it, opening to offer its infinite gifts to the degree we are willing to make the final journey not by going out, but going in, and 'turning the mind back upon itself' until we see through it altogether, beyond the thoughts we have made, until Divine Thought arises from what is before it: Real Beingness. Presence. Shimmering Light Alone.
And every word, every vibration emanating from Light reverberates in Goodness, shines in Beauty, and evokes the Holy.
Poplar trees, still in a windless sky. Long tubes of something growing under plastic in this garden. Sunlight and mist dancing without conflict together. Fingertips on keyboard.
And yet, "I" am here, but different. I am the one tasting this Reality. This "I" has only spaciousness in it, and only one thing it wants to share:
Love! It is the only thing that is real.
It's taste is sweet above honey, sublime beyond imagination or idea or belief!
Do you taste it, now? Do you see it through the open eyes of the Deep Heart, the depth of Mind itself? Do you hear it chanting its essence in ceaseless reverberations inside your soul:
Goodness... Holiness... Beauty
Or, are you still veiling it from yourself with a self you have made to cover it all?
Suirin Zen Center
Nagano, Japan Oct/2010