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How

When you can’t hold it in anymore,

it pours

out

to empty.

Even then,

drained

still, absolutely still,

so

shaped empty,

you

shape it

how.

Skin

skin

wall

porous

ways

Pain?

Pain is usually not a constant, but a process with its own rhythms and fluxing intensities.  And if one does not harden the pain into the idea of a fixed thing that is an enemy, if one does not try to escape pain, then the pain may actually lessen (because, to take a simple example, the body is not tensed and braced against it). There are a number of meditative responses to pain. One is to focus on something else, like the breath. But, for example, in sitting for long periods, pain in the (folded) legs or back can be so intense that focusing elsewhere is not really possible: the pain calls you. Then one way is through mindfulness, carefully focusing on the pain, watching its rhythms and fluxing intensities. Placing oneself in the neutral role of calm ‘watcher’, one is less likely to be reactive, less likely to be carried away by thoughts and feelings of the need to escape. Calmed in this way, pain can be made more manageable. Another related way is to meditatively scan the body, going from head to foot, slowly focusing on different sections all the way down (and back up). This has the advantage of ‘putting pain in its place’, pain no longer the sole focus, but the scanner only coming to it in the order of the scan, and only for a limited time (one may spend more time with the pain, but one must soon go on with the scan). Learning to focus on other sensations and feelings discounts the centrality of the pain. In any case, this paradigm yields an understanding that pain is not a object-thing but a kind of dream – one way of perceptually organizing reality among the many available. And what one may then come to is the falling away of all varieties of perceptually organizing reality so that there are no longer any conceptual discriminations, no longer subject and object, just (to give it a provisional name) a unified energy field. There is no pain here. Some people fall in and out of this by accident. A few have the ability to turn the ‘absolute’ and the ‘relative’ on and off ‘at will’. Q: Is the absolute (nondiscrimination) simply another perceptual standpoint? Some traditions would say it is, that, subtly, self remains, that this absolute too must fall away, yielding just what phenomena come – joy, laughter, pain – creatively lived. Then joy, laughter and pain – each each on their occasion fully enact and express all without discrimination. Then pain, just as it is, is no pain.

Pain

Pain constricts the world

down to

pain.

Not fighting to escape it,

investigating it attentively,

lovingly,

not even being different

from its ebbs and flows,

from its expressions of

vast energy,

in that seemingly narrow place,

unfettered,

you are the vastness.

Surgery

Just in the scalpel’s incision,

nothing is cut or cut out.

Daremo Inai

Once long ago, the great painter and sculptor, Daremo Inai, exhibited his new work in the center of a great, open-air courtyard.  The viewing began before sunrise when nothing of the artwork could be seen.  Gradually, the rising sun revealed what was set there to face it and be illumined. 

At its heart, it was an ink painting in simple bold, black strokes and gray washes displaying a number of human figures on the background emptiness of white rice paper.  To the right was a couple caught mid-stride, serenely walking along the road towards the viewers.  To the left was a weary old man seated on a stool at a small shop, drinking from a flask, mind absently present.  In the background, many other figures, including busy people, domestic animals, unfettered birds and careening insects, and angular pine trees, tough scrub and delicate flowers, dotted a landscape of a winding trail traversing mountains and valleys – a town’s jutting structures barely discernible there in the cloud distance.  

Incongruously, in the very center of the painting, not of black and white, an intertwining couple painted in gold boldly copulated, bared genitals penetrating and enveloping, faces contorted with ecstasy.

Every figure in the painting, including the two comprising the golden couple, was each made up of 84,000 breathing pores – small, bared and vulnerable openings, each a membrane between inner and outer – each pore from which a shaft of golden light at once penetrated and emanated.  The rays shone forth everywhere, crisscrossing from all to connect all.

One had to wonder what real difference there was between the golden copulating couple in ecstasy and the ordinary figures simply present.  Not much. After all, the shafts of light of each being and all others simultaneously interpenetrated.  The pair’s ecstatic sexual and spiritual union, then, seemed a special form of what was from the very beginning not capable of separation; so nowhere was there any need for joining.  (Still, most strangely, most prosaically, union is often a great fulfillment.)

Daremo Inai had the viewers remove their clothing before stepping into the courtyard.  Bared, each was given only a pendant with a multi-faceted diamond to wear about the neck.  The naked viewers were offered no food, drink, conversation, or other diversion.  In the initial darkness, each simply stood alone, stripped.  And as the light arose to reveal the painting, each gazed upon it and, gradually, upon one another gazing.  They stood or sat thus in contemplation all day, until sunset approached. 

Then, the sinking sun found its way behind the painting, beginning to pulse light from behind.

Now, it should be noted that Daremo Inai had pricked the painting countless times with a thick needle, so that it was full of holes.  And so as the sun set behind it, rays of light began to shoot through the painting while the figures upon its surface were still visible, golden rays now not only connecting the figures in the painting but as well finding the pores of the living viewers, each seeing the golden rays penetrating – and emanating from – the painting, themselves and all others present. 

And as the sun set low, the pin-prick rays blood-reddened and the distinct forms of the painted surface faded away to black.  Left were lasers of red light bathing the viewers, filaments of light, red threads come out of nothing, out of nowhere, red threads refracted in the diamond pendants reflecting back and forth every which way among the participants infinitely lit by light.

And with the setting of the sun, the courtyard returned to utter darkness.                     

Just then some one –

was it Daremo Inai? –

laughed a great laugh

through and through.

Caring

Caring:

what’s left when

‘me’ is stilled.

Body-Mind In The Air

The smell of rain

before it falls:

your animal moment.

Why now so few

and far between?

Remember

when as a child

sunset’s light

each day

took a lifetime

to fade

and beings inhabited

the lengthening shadows?

Where are you hiding,

you

who pulse the cosmos?

Lazy Joe’s Stanceless Stance

Lazy Joe once said,

“Nothing to grasp,

nothing to stand on.

Not that I don’t have

hands and feet!”

Just so, only so,

may you freely use them.

Halos

Halos

of sensation, perception, feeling,
thought, motivation, intent,
and even consciousness itself

emanate

and are not apart from

this windsweep morning –

halos upon halos,

each just as it is in all its glory

each with all interfluxing,

swept and sweeping clean.

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