20 December 2009

Notes from the Center of the Forest: All is Well

"...A multitude of words is tiresome, unlike remaining centered." 

"Words and the thoughts behind them may be clever, perhaps inspired, but still there can be enough of them. Then it is better to silently take it all in. We don’t need to describe everything we experience, or to express all that we learn. The words are mere shadows. If we focus on them we may lose sight of the reality they try to imitate.

"Instead, we should trust that our inner stillness finds the Way, and makes us see the patterns in the constant bombardment of information that is our daily life.

"The word ‘centered’ in my translation...is jhong (or zhong) in Chinese and means middle or center. It is used in the name for the Chinese nation (Jhongguo or Zhongguo). The Chinese character for the word is a simplification of an arrow hitting the center of a target. In Lao Tzu’s use of the word, inner balance and steadfastness is implied, somewhat like the keel of a boat that is unaffected by the waves on the sea. That is how the human mind should be – calm in whatever turmoil surrounds it, confident even in a rain of urgent questions and answers."

-- Stefan Stenudd, Tao Te Ching: Each Chapter Explained, Chapter 5

Things are better. Work on the horizon, agreement with space, no big motion for now, and time to sort it all out in the next month. Plans for Miami are underway; tickets and a ride (ROAD TRIP!!!) being secured, and crash space being outlined in the approximate shape of one sleeping bag containing a human form, and one Vaude camping backpack. Oh, and a pair of shoes.

Trying to keep it simple. Had a spiritual experience last night working on a large exegesis of a Hampton '09 / Phish 3.0 Fall Tour shuffle mix I allowed The Fates to deliver to me. Funny stuff. May post it soon. But writing and watching the Clifford Ball DVD up in a corner of the screen (magical: Disc 4, Day 2, Set 1, "Reba > Cars Trucks Buses"):

"Be the stream," a voice said.

We are each a stream: strong, silent, turbulent, slow, quick. Streams flow through their beds, moving, not clinging to rocks. I've spent a lot of time struggling; "Why this, why that?" I ask, carving out my niche of expression and understanding of Phish, in an otherwise statistical, repetitive cloud of showy self-competitiveness. In a moment last night, I merged. Fingers stopped. Brain stopped.

"Be the stream," the voice said again.

A lot on my mind, a lot on my plate. Much to reflect upon, and to celebrate. Not a lot in my wallet, but so much in my heart. The music of Phish makes me feels good, enhancing life, encouraging tolerance, very challenging, very rewarding. Their acceptance and inquiry -- of each other's notes, changes and fills, small and big breakthroughs, instrumental evolutions across time both brief and extensive -- is extremely engaging, and wholly satisfying.

But I'm going on...suffice it to say, I'm transitioning into a new experience. More will be revealed. I don't know if "more" will look like emptiness, or fullness, but there will be sounds of Phish, whatever it is. I'll be standing in the stream, water to my ankles, rocks under my toes, eyes closed, listening, feeling, letting thoughts rise from my ears, and pass from my nose. Learning to describe without description, and write without words, while chanting words from a song.

I neither cling to the stream bed, nor attempt to detach from it. I am in the stream. I am the stream.


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