Prayer For All Life

On Wednesday we drove to the Oregon coast escaping near 100 degree temperatures in Portland. Walked a trail down to a secluded bay avoiding most of the summer crowds. Stepping over vein-patterned roots under Hemlock and Spruce, through still quiet and misty valleys lined with licorice ferns and salal bushes. Hushed surf and seagull cries in the distance.

Fog thickened as we sat with our backs to a driftwood log. I pulled out and began to eat a cold burrito entombed in tin foil. The cold burrito lesson like so many repeats has yet to be learned.

An ant hurried over taupe sand ripples at my feet. As I redirected it repeatedly from a motherload of sentient skin it got buried in a half inch of sand only to resurface after a second or two like a cork in water. Somehow that’s got to be a lesson in resilience.

A little while later a yellow beaked Thayers gull tosses the remaining sandy burrito down its throat. I noticed for the first time how fluid a gull’s feet are, like small pink puddles ever so gently splashing the earth. Somehow that’s got to be a lesson on how to walk on our precious planet. Like medicine man Black Elk’s sacred walking.

“Hear me, four quarters of the world–a relative I am! Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is! Give me the eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds.
Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather, all over the earth the faces of living things are all alike…
- “Black Elk’s Prayer for All Life”

 

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Exiles Of The Alchemy

 

Once you know, having seen
over long history, your heart
floats up to the good after
every descent and your eyes
are with every deed, gentle
you may release discoveries
foster the peace
bring lost light
to this dark place.
Not perfect but fertile
for the alchemy

In mist, lost, freedom arrives
so heavy at first, so alone
in noisy mundanity
we must go in, hermetic
to rediscover the luminous code
of gestation as this patina that was given
from an algorithm of conformity
shines only in artificial light
closed in loops of self-extinguishing fire
it’s ways combustible and lost

the origin though was never given
is the base camp in these mountains
above misty valleys
below peaks lost in clouds.
Scrambling for utensils
we forget our nocturnal sight
the terma treasure embracing
our return in every view

I am a wanderer through cities
of social media friends
the trees show me another land
the sky, that maternal gift
all buildings and customs are
born from evaporative, a while only.
Every day a different place appears
even boredom cannot deny it

when they hurt, certainty shimmers unsolid
like houses in desert heat
my pain has opened the cage
occasionally is true meeting, mostly though
proximity cannot speak it’s heart
transparency is caught in
a politics of glimpses, of acceptable
openings, careful enclosures
intimacies of nearness only
I listen to the unlayered voice
see the naked gesture
drawn to the inflections of full bodied speech
common among the furred and feathered
drawn to the heartfulness of the dwindling Kaumātua
to the faces of Curtis’ Indians
to the ephemeral ones waiting in a room

So I stretch my arms out
like a crucifix, give love where I can
mostly to the ones of IS
to animals, to plants, to light
that lives the world awake
to those I cannot see
to myriads in other places,
to the kind, the sick, the broken
to the epistemic shaken
to exiles of the alchemy

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Sunlight Blesses The World

 

Not a single thing is commanded
to be other
than it is, except by
old words of old men

sunlight blesses the world
as it is
demands nothing
from its fierce kiss
from its soft caress
from its bleached winter observance.

The air which embraces
a whole planet
of which I breath this very minute
and now also
Of which you breath
and the watchful crow
and the trees of divinity
and the jeweled fish
and the fly shimmering like coal

This air, the great nutrition,
asks not that wings be fins
that all creatures be collected
into species and forgotten.
That people be measured.
That mere thoughts corral
the teeming behind walls.

Asks not that a face be handsome
or that success is earned
That failure can ever be final

It loves by its lightness
infiltrating blood and sap
with its fire
exploding this one planet with
love, life, travail, peace.
With beauty, with decay, with rebirth.

a song without end, a master piece
of form and grace.

A place of journeys in lostness.

A multitude of exploration

A symphony of mistakes, attainment, of returning.

Not a single thing is commanded.
Wanderers of time may enter
dark valleys but
unfinishedness will always bring
air, bring light.

Nowhere along waterways
through Hemlock forests
among spore dotted sword ferns
beside fragrant sagebrush
on green mountains beneath
the blue curve of northern skies

Nowhere among glistening stones
flecked with crystal
Will you find the command to be anything
other than what you are

All things are beings
we all live in the tilt of unfinishedness
We are together in this strange theater
fed by the same blood
nurtured in infancy,
supported in maturation by mystery.

nothing ever stops for long
even rock rides toward stars
like slow waves
returning teeming ancient life
to the rhythm of wetting, drying
brushing and polishing of seasons,
to the joy of Spring.

Violence done to another is
self-inflicted, settling like a perpetual irritation
in considering, in feeling, in the cold echoes of isolation
Love eventually brings its catastrophes
fierce teacher devoid of punishment.

The hardened heart cannot live
in its dark cave forever.
It’s falling is its rising.

This I have been told
by places with sedge and trickling water
by birds, by cats, and people never met.
By the green poetry of grass and trees
by the grace of winter light.

When I put down the whip,
put down the sword, the ruler.
When commandments are revealed as
mere paper.
I discover the blessing,

we discover the blessing.

 

Thomas Martin

 

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Mooshi the beautiful gift

 

Our beautiful cat Mooshi was a little skittish, having been feral in her first few months of life. She was strong and sweet, devoid of guile. She wasn’t a lap cat, didn’t like being picked up for long. She retained a little wildness and loved to play back and forth across her wild line especially in the crepuscular hour, but also holding to her dignity and pensiveness at times. You couldn’t touch her stomach, though you’d dearly wish your hand on such soft fur. The closest we could get was to gently cup her ribs when she stretched up the kitchen cabinet, her claws feeling for a crack above the drawer.

She grew sweeter and more beautiful as she aged. You may have wished for more cat cuddles but you got more than that. When she came into the kitchen she would ever so lightly brush past your leg. Sometimes she would lightly lean on the side of your calf. She might sit next to you with her paw barely touching your thigh. Limitation brings the most exquisite gestures, as love demands not the change we think is necessary. Love shines everything to show its light, and demands nothing.

God I miss her still, and that beautiful wordless communication that lives beyond the paltriness of language. I miss her daily movements, her thick multicolored fur, her sitting watchful and still, her sweet sleeping. I miss her fluid walk with tapping claws on the hardwood floor, her open unblinking stare. I miss the stalking games we played so often. The way she loved a strong back-rub (but not too strong), she would stay in one spot for a while then move a foot or two forward, waiting for more, ears tilted back listening in contact.

I saw her in every animal I looked at. In every pair of eyes, in wings and legs, and soft bodies. In the fullness of gesture most humans have lost.

The time since she died is like a space that increases, it’s distance my pain. Yet the metaphor of time/space is an illusionary marketplace of experience, for there is no time. Increasingly she is in my heart, sometimes walking with me, rubbing her cheek on mine, weaving joyfully around my legs, sitting with me in the park and watching the sunset and the swallows.

Love arises in the eternal and has no distance or fracture. This is what trusting the echo of our silence brings, for love never arises, never leaves, instead appears fully formed, the subterranean bedrock of all our being. And every act of love enriches us, for in this the eternal is boundless in its creativity. In love, life has no facility for death, just birth and birth and birth to brightness. The very reverse of our fearful thoughts — to darkness and darkness more, to dust.

The contemporary self-torture of the good person is “self improvement”. It’s a modern softer, slightly less violent version of its older moralizing predecessor. Its tools of trade are resistance, denial and demand. It walks right past the first step — to love and allow a natural being, an evaporation of suffering and conflict — that dissolves all thoughts and emotion, and allows their simplicity in the heart of wholeness. This first step is the last. An infinite variety of individuality is intended, no one is unintended by Life. All ones are unique as the One intended. Every human, animal, plant.

In this Mooshi was my teacher, her beauty and sweetness the crucible of my transforming.

It is said “You’re not a complete soul until you’ve loved an animal.” It has also been said there is no hierarchy of beings on Earth. Each and every creature is a unique tone and luster of the one Light. Only the most ignorant would claim to be higher than another. This brings an infinite orchestration of multitudinous being for which there is no name, no labeling, so no conceptual belonging or lostness.

Every act of kindness, of seeing-as-ness, of touching in simplicity, is the birth of an entire universe in a spaceless space that has no limit. I wonder how many such universes were created in the eleven years of my joyful interacting with this sweet animal?

Thomas Martin

 

 

 

 

 

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Gently Persist

Autumn is here, rain arrived, waited a few days and returned. With the sun tilting lower, shadows are long and the garden stays damp despite warm days.

A squirrel runs, tapping along the fence and down the pear tree, sniffing through the garden beds for stashed nuts, to relocate, eat, steal?

My friend the crow drops down through a beautiful arc onto a pole, we share the space together for a while until he harshly scolds a cat hidden somewhere in the hedge, eventually flying off to family in the maple tree.

A stillness rises from the earth transforming seeing. The leeks become jade palms of paradise, the grass is green love, the cracks and divots in an old concrete patio seem an indefinable, soundless music.

Sit with Nature, no where special, in the yard, a park or looking out the window. Absorb the long slow ancient lessons that awaken the foundation of your being. These aren’t the quick short lessons that ruffle and excite, you grow by shedding and forgetfulness. The language we were all taught can’t place the heart, there’s no better or worse, inner or outer, nothing to hold. It easily looks pointless at first, the teeth of thought have nothing to chew.

But gently persist and love, like the softest breeze embraces you, welcomes you back, shows you the mysterious beauty of life. At least for a moment you can see how all things grow from effortless and infinite intelligence, and in this way you too are endlessly grown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Martin

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Meditation On Sound and Thought

Looking at thoughts, they seem to have sound, be noisy, but there’s no sound. Even verbal thoughts are silent. What is it that makes it so they seem like spoken words? Why does imagined sound seem other than complete silence?

A car goes past the window, a crow calls from the phone wire, projecting its whole body through its beak, caw! caw! caw! For a moment afterwards these sounds can be ‘heard’ eidetically in our minds. In that brief window of memory they seem an exact copy, yet appear in silence, made of silence. They ‘seem’ like sounds.

A series of sounds seem to include these quick imaginal memories to facilitate coherence of hearing in series that gives a sense of time moving. Yet no actual sound ever happens in a future or past. Nothing is heard in time at all. The apparent movement of sound is a functionally beautiful illusion.

Next listen to a sound, suspending for a moment, the name, the analysis – a clock ticking; the amazing rich musicality of ordinary sound – a page turn, the husking leaf-like dry scrape. A jet flying over; undulating roar, roiling caverns and waves of deep sound curling over each other. The tapestry of tones played by breezes in a single tree; delicate hissing, paper-edge, tapping, fidelity to unique gusts of air.

But are even these ‘sound’ as we habitually think it to be? There’s a mild sense of pressure in the ears, an effort-sensation of the head, a feeling of straightness in the upper spine. A sensory image of directionality seeming to aim toward the origin of the sound and in the center of the ears. A subtle sensory image of a sound over there and a listener over here.

But is this thing heard also sound?

Or is it amplified sensory texture, like touching a smooth surface, or feeling the roughness of canvas or delicate wetness of bubbles? Only seeming to be felt in the center of the head, or in the ear canals?

I stepped through the bookstore door onto a crowded sidewalk.I was holding a paperback in my hand and at that moment a motorcycle growled down the street. I could both hear the sound and feel its vibration in my hand through the book.

The hearing is said to be noise but the vibration touch. Does the sound cause the vibration or vibration sound? But they are the same, why is one experienced as a silent feeling, a touching and the other as noise?

These are glimpses of how language creates a sense of things. How hearing is mixed with thinking and thinking is mixed with hearing and both give a feeling of sound.

Is sound really the experience we think it is? Or is it the experience, as directly found, a textural richness woven from the one ephemeral fabric? A cloth variously textured through different senses yet made of the one being/awareness.

Like touch sound is textured silence, clear space appearing briefly as form. The commonality of ‘just awareness’, unbroken and infinitely light reveals that the many and the problem of unity is all an illusion.

Thomas Martin

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Powerless To Leave The Now

The earth is a slow moving liquid, the sea is viscous air, and the wind is space with the touch of a feather. And touch is what we know, and our knowing is weightless.

Powerless to leave the now, time is folded around us with no more density than a mirage. Every thought, sensation and imagining is transparently light. Sometimes this powerlessness seems a walless prison, often though, a haven, the haven as fear points elsewhere for confirmation. Elsewhere has disappeared  leaving the heart happy.

As all futures are imaginary there are no means of leaving. Powerless to leave the now all travels arrive at, traverse and return here.

 

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The Scent of Rose in Cool Sea Air

At about the mid point of the trail as it swung back toward the coast, through stands of white barked Alder with fresh new leaves, there was a small cirque created by a slip opening the forest three hundred feet downward toward the beach.

Standing on the trail you could see far down into the area as it was filled with low shrubby foliage of dark green salal. Nootka rose bushes with their pink petalled, yellow centered flowers were sprinkled amongst the dark green salal bushes.

The scent of rose wafted up on cool, moist sea air. A scent that seems to redeem all wrongs and make the final point of all events and lives, no matter how sad confused or painful, a smile.

Is the human perspective trapped somehow in a loop of fear and hope? Persuading us of dark endings which in turn stimulate imagined outcomes of self fulfillment and invulnerable happiness.

Or is there something speaking to us in unexpected moments, hinting that our lives, regardless of particular thought and feeling, are carried effortless and unbroken in true freedom?

You could hear the sea a mile away. With eyes closed it almost seemed to be wind in the high tops of fir and spruce. Both sounds intimately suffused with each other along this coast since ancient times. But if you listen carefully the ‘sea’ nor ‘trees’, ‘wind’ neither – no other thing apart from unbroken being/hearing can be found.

Only that something is heard. The name ‘sea’ comes after so quickly, so habitually. Nor will you find an act of hearing, nor an ‘I’ hearing in the moments completeness.

Just that steady, continuous, distant pulsed whoosh, soft hiss, shearing of sheeted waves over wet sand. Innumerable ribbons of foamed waves slipping across smoothed sand.

The rolling, falling, spreading, settling and pulling back of ocean waves lost for a place of transmission. Leaving sand, rippled, mounded, pressed and smoothed. Hissing and crashing rich sound, mist-blown inland.

It’s own complete being and your being as one without defined borders. Completeness right here but overlooked, no special future experience needed!

Thomas Martin

 

 

 

 

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…the lightest of things must appear eventually

A heavy fog hung across the city for several days. This morning, as the sun rose, suddenly the sky was pale blue openness edged with apricot. Sparkling frost on roofs, twigs crystalline with ice, and the lacinato kale in the garden drooping and white as quartz.

The juncos in the yard seem to move more quickly, pecking at seeds on the ground with the larger males chasing away the smaller males.  Little black-hooded birds darting forward along the wet terrace, stopping, turning side to side, pecking like sewing machines. Here and there suddenly leaping, revealing flashes of white tail feathers with a fan-like flick. Vascular shadows of branches stretched long across crunchy lawns of the neighborhood beneath bare trees. Every living thing meets the cold air and winter sunlight as one community.

 

In the afternoon, sunlight streaked into the coffeehouse, slanting, clear, with the enlivening directionality of winter light. Sofa arms, tabletops, hair, hands and the wooden sides of chairs all gilded precious in its path, without differentiation.

A little girl, maybe five, was sitting nearby with her granddad, a patient friendly man in his early seventies. She asked him for a paper towel, he pointed to a table nearby. Tall for her age, dressed neatly, long hair tied back, looking like mini version of herself fifteen years hence, she walked slowly scuffing her red shoes along the dark wooden floor. Humming, joyful of her outing, she reached carefully up into the basket of neatly stacked paper towels.

Very slowly still humming she pulled one out but several others slid along with it, falling, unfolding and spreading open. One fell down into a tub of bussed cups and plates.

Gentle like a cat walking on a mantelpiece amongst ornaments, she put the extra towels back, including the one in the used dishes. She patiently reached up at full arms length, draping and folding them after a fashion, one by one back into the basket, continuing to hum. Then celebratory, she skipped  back to the table with her chosen paper towel. Someone waiting behind her then reached in to the basket, careful to avoid the top paper towels.

If it weren’t for a mild wind blowing from the gorge in the east the fog would have sealed the entire day in grey stasis. A cold easterly facilitates the sun’s warmth here in the western valley. Life, never fixed like words/names and socially allocated identities but ever moving, full and fertile, with turns and transformations always suffused with the new and unexpected.

Water eventually finds the dry seed, light the darkened thoughts, sad days nourish insight. Thanks to gravity the lightest of things must appear eventually. Air and mist feed a whole planet. All is light milled from density, containment and limit misconceived.

Thomas Martin

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…a primal neutrality

Mid january and curled yellow leaves still cling to the pear trees at the back of the property. Their beauty is set against a blue grey fog, suspending this cold winter morning in waiting. A muted light envelops the trees in demure pastel softness. The trees are almost bare, stark, with bark darkened by perpetual dampness. They reach up and outward, frozen in embrace of summer’s fullness, the joy of all trees incarnated in wood.

The gabled roof of a house behind forms an inverted “V” above a rectangle, partly obscured by thin branches high up. Clear geometric lines inform beauties’ multitudinous cascade of form, infinitely recomposed through perspective. A blue jay hops across a nearby roof, full of assertive bluster, emitting the familiar screeching call and clawed taps with each bounce.

 The feeling of mild irritability from broken sleep is carried in, suffused with and one and same “substance” as those leaves. There really is one equality of all perceptions, a primal neutrality. That mystery of awareness imbuing all that appears in perceiving, with the one light. There’s no need to evaluate a feeling as more significant than a leaf, a feeling which, even if intense and distracting, is made of the same lightness. A pleasant feeling, an unpleasant one, woven from the same; marked as different by a passing thought which is woven from the same light as yellow leaves, irritable feelings.

Thomas Martin

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All pasts and futures are unverifiable as anything actual

Sitting outside last summer the air was filled with the sound of maple leaves rustling in gusts of wind. The touch of sharp leaves, pale green and crimson bow shaped seedpods with air and each other in total orchestration of unique sound. Each gust sounding through the tree incomparably precise in expression, for nature has no comparison.

Leaves trembling, tapping and sliding against each other, color hues shifting, as light is more direct, then more oblique, then blinking to shadow. Each thing/event of color, sound, shape and movement being so free and so complete to leave no space for a measuring reference point. Incomparable precision, choiceless, unbroken, complete.

A flock of  goldfinches flies into the tree catching insects. They sound like rain drops hitting dry leaves. Their sharp chirps cool and bright as silver. Red maple leaves, small yellow, green feathered bodies, flashes of silver light in sound form.

Clear morning sun shining through branches, absolutely pristine. The brightest mood, clearest intelligence, incomparable purity of light. Everything is woven from this brilliance, so are we.

Nothing can be extracted from each experienced moment to later be applied to evaluate that moment. Any thought that looks back at a moment to compare or evaluate is a new event within a new moment. There is no unbroken continuity to stick that thought to the previous thought, no bedrock, continuous experience of any memory. No memory found attached indelibly to that which it inherently claims to remember. Nor thoughts linked, as in a chain, but thought after thought appearing in space, surrounded by space. Carrying no more of previous experience than the reflection of a rotating ceiling fan on a polished cafe tabletop. No actual sticking-to or substance in its nature.  Less than that, more ephemeral than light.

This subtle, usually over-looked mental action, of successive thought pieces referring to other thought pieces, builds a world of fragments and fragmentary actions. A necessary, and when working well, a beautifully honed software.

All pasts and futures are unverifiable as anything actual – that is, not simply symbols or images of something. Existence is found in direct perception, through seeing, hearing, feeling, even through instruments. No past or future experience is found in the place assigned it, but in a non-space, non-time Isness. As this assignment of place and time is really a thought structure that simply builds on a spatial image of “back there” and “up ahead”.

All that can be found to exist is an immediate experience. Always. Ever this. But what is this? I go through all manner of changes in one day. Walking or driving or cycling through so many environments. Seeing, hearing feeling so many things, people, places, animals, plants, trees. Yet THISNESS doesn’t go anywhere. What a miracle is that!

Thomas Martin

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All The Passing Things Must Have A River, The Teeming Must Have A Sea

If you look at a simple ‘object’ like a door handle, first thing to notice is how we usually don’t actually look at something but distractedly confirm what appears as known. The next thing is we look through our thoughts and feelings about its use and through our personal, collective past. Even implicit structuring thoughts act as a screen. For example thoughts that direct experience toward the idea of solidity when in fact there is only a sensation of pressure or resistance, no solidity directly known at all.

However if you keep looking, quietly with the whole feeling sense of mind and body you see that behind knowledge, the thought-image that constructs seeming objectivity, you don’t really know what it is you are seeing eg., a door handle. (Of course you can re-invoke the necessary utility of ‘knowing’ but that can be suspended revealing a primary isness, beingness, unknowable intimacy)

Then something wholly palpable appears, this something, its roundness, color, the ‘touch’ of it. Its name floats as a sign but cannot touch this something, which only “unknowing” awareness can truly meet.

An amazing fact can arise in this way – in each instance of direct perceiving there’s no separate object or subject, no separate seeing that sees. No separate person who experiences from an outside point in the thought structure of space/time.

A seeing-being quality, toned in beauty and lightness, appears to be the most intimate basis of life in its actual moment-to-moment living.

Every occasion of perception shimmers in the same quality, be it a thought, sensation, color, sound, a person, a tree, a bird. The me-you, self-world dichotomies are not sustained in our most primary experience. The light in which all is perceived imbues everything in its own quality of wholeness. Divisions and borders cannot be found yet differences shine and order is intrinsically maintained.

With knowing temporarily in abeyance a sense of wonder and beauty effortlessly arise. At the edge of knowing, really seeing! begins to open up.

This, in a glimpse, is the world left behind in a subtle rejection of life that is ‘knowing things’. The over-worked surrogate, though necessary, symbolization of living.

Thinking, emoting, imagining are all secondary and derivative, there’s something more foundational that doesn’t need to be maintained and isn’t broken up. Each thought-emotion-image-sensation complex that arises in our experience moves in fractured sequences but that which carries all perceptions, itself not directly findable, is a river of wholeness; smooth, stable, complete.

Not constructed by any effort, requiring no maintenance and we, the experiencers can’t be found apart from that.

Thomas Martin

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so lost and homeless it always discovers…

Concepts trick us into thinking that the things they stand for are definite and discrete in form when in fact they rarely are. So if we are to clearly think we must admit the fuzzy form of things that their names and concepts more or less routinely misrepresent. To strongly identify with almost anything is to make this mistake.

 If we are sensitive to this then emphasis shifts to watchfulness and awareness which naturally and more faithfully accommodates the non-crisp, ever moving nature of things.

Perception from a position of receptive emptiness is much more valuable than thinking. Perception is like air, very light and able in its nature to receive impressions of all forms. Thinking projects its own form, often creating confusion, always requiring revolution through dialogue. Thinking operates with the sub-code “I already know so why look too hard just recognize, categorize and move on”

Perception is so lost and homeless it always discovers, with never an end in sight.

thomas martin

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ALL IS MOVEMENT

Everything is movement, nothing is static. Either fast or slow or very fast or very slow. We live on a narrow band within an infinitely complex orchestration of movement. Not a band really but slowness enough for objects to appear.

There are no “things” that aren’t movements and no movements not seamlessly connected to other movements. A table is a slow movement, clouds move in shape and distance. Sunlight flashes across the sky at dawn too fast to see. The one who looks constantly changes in thoughts, feelings, never entirely the same even in a single day. Like a landscape, brightened and darkened, cooled, warmed by Spring showers, within and without are two wings of this bird of being.

Nouns then point to illusions. Nouns like success, a something requiring a stopping point, it’s a dream fulfilled or unfulfilled, not something that life has in it’s living. Nouns like me and you point to illusions whereas being cannot be located in a time or place as its ever on the move, concealed within the illusion of self and other.

Learning has its life in movement. Diplomas, degrees, awards float like yesterdays glossy magazines in a flooded river. Learning is the river and the tree roots that draw life to green cells that meet the sun. Learning has no end, no status. The learned live in the past of movement. The learner is free of the bookends of past and future, rides in the winds and rivers of discovery without end. When we identify we choose the way of the minds death. Society has conditioned us to many such deaths. We’re afraid of the rivers that we are – rivers within rivers. Identities aren’t then moving functions but pools becoming ever more stagnant as we age.

Movement, as it is, can’t be known. It would need to be stopped or sliced up. What is left of it in language, in thought, in mathematics? It does not live in the delay our knowledge needs. To know is not to have anything actual or living in hand, to be in touch can’t be pinned down.

At best, as David Bohm used to say, knowledge can be coherent, faithful to what takes place. All this great work of the human mind is to evolve multiple perspectives, ways of seeing that which can never wholly be seen, yet an IS nearer to our being than the chemicals within a neuron.The mystery that cloths us, our very breath and blood, carrying us forward in renewal from the wastelands of time, is unknowable. Knowing though necessary is secondary to this explosive silence. A quiet, patient intimacy awaiting our return.

It doesn’t stop when you pull up to the curb, turn off the car, get out, walk up the stairs to the front door, turn the key, go inside, walk into the kitchen. Doesn’t stop when you go off to sleep. Neither inside nor outside, is ceaseless. At work It waits within all the recesses of the room and beyond the windows to be glimpsed in its untamed glory. The air of roadless mountains, light of ancient stars, wildness without hours or appointments floods our senses as we live walled by all these small things in a civilized day.

 

 

We have no ultimate choice in the matter however, even smalled by necessary order and compressed by concerns, we are movements within a boundless dynamic mystery. Not different from that in any way. Prone in the end to journeying, creating, unshackling. Prone also to compassion for that other with eyes, absorbing and reflecting an ancient light, is us.

 

thomas martin

 

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If We Don’t See, Eventually We’re Shown

Today I decided to cycle to the Post Office as a gift needed to be sent soon for a birthday. It had been raining heavily but now the rain had stopped. The sky was dark, heavy and cold, gusts blew suddenly from side-streets shaking the bike. The road glistened with rainwater and wet leaves. The sound of wind, cars rushing past and the slippery road communicated danger.

As usual there was a line in the Post Office, so Twin tensions of waiting and wanting to leap to the counter and get out of there,leaned on each other in my stomach. Finally I’m at the counter, the relentlessly cheerful lady with 1980s glasses hands me a customs form sending me back to fill it out. Now I’ve lost my place, I impatiently scribble addresses and the dollar value, contents description. Anger builds — why weren’t the forms out to be filled in while waiting? Anger is self-convincing, is its own proof, its own reason, its own righteousness.

Strong emotion seems to be rooted in its own conviction, its own necessity. Has its own special gravity, a certainty that makes an action sure-footed, undoubting. It doesn’t hover in the leaves but in the very trunk of the tree. In the middle of the brain, core of the body. Many things are hard to see clearly in life but strong emotion burns the fog away. Is an arrow in the dark. It is the heavy fumed certainty at the center of every ideology, belief or opinion.

So two more people are ahead of me, again waiting with that tight civility of so much of urban life. Will I say something? Or just let it go? No, I need to say, “you know if the forms were out there I could have filled them while in line”. Polite but firm, with a smile, not like a jerk.

Which is what I do when I’m finally again at the prized counter in front of the cheerful face with the big glasses. She points across to the side where all the forms are neatly filed right at the head of the line and say’s “I guess they could be more obvious”. How many times have I been through all such convincingly “true” emotional reactions to see again the mis-reading of their certainties.

If we don’t see, eventually we’re shown. The whole world conspires for our education.

Thomas Martin

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