On our first visit to Prague it was almost hard to imagine that this bridge was built to ferry people and traffic across the River. Now it is jammed with tourists and those for whom tourists are a ubiquitous market, and anyone needing to expeditiously cross the cranky water that every now and again must indulge the bridge, or use the less interesting bridges adjacent. There is a veneer of age about this ancient the statuary darkened by time and weather replaced when the waters get truly petulant and carry off statues they deem an affront. Motion on the bridge is slow and can tend toward gridlock, to the joy of those selling art and tchotchkes, and tchotchke arts that won’t be truly regretted by the buyer until it is hung on the wall next to the waterglobe miniatures of St. Matthias church and the parliament buildings Budapest.
We can sit for a time, and speak of our pains, how they cause us to stop and look inward while the world proceeds on it’s axis, in a slow march through time and space, and we share the anger and anguish of our too fallible bodies which time reclaims in slow progression.
We do not pause and cast eyes on the egrets, heron and ibis returning for the night as the retreating sun paints the clouds in colors known best to flames consuming all, to wings flapping as perches are taken adjusted, as conversations are continued while night settles slowly over the preserve, the birds marvel at how we allow ourselves to be absent from the simple beauty of the world that surrounds us.
It is a precarious balance, really, more and exercise in tottering and hearing than in standing still. Some prefer stasis, others, I included, find it leads inevitably to a loss of energy, to an entropy from which it is difficult to escape. I don’t walk along the edge of the precipice, but I do peer over amazed at what lies below that I hope to never see up close. Is a precarious balance, but one that can be maintained if you just close your eyes and sense what actually lies around and beneath you.
She wants to know where to look and thinks it must be either without or within, she assumes a Christian looks outward, a Buddhist within, and every other faith either aligns with one or plumbs the middle. She is searching for the answer to the inevitable question, the question that cannot be answered. She asks where you find a teacher, for teachers have answers. I want to tell her there is no answer and every answer is correct and every answer is incorrect and the only way to look is to close your eyes, to stop looking to stop seeking, and for once, just once, to simply be. She no doubt thinks me crazy as she walks away continuing her search for that which cannot be found. because she is that and that is everywhere and everything she imagines she senses.
He’d been searching for ever, or so often seemed, for no-self, and he couldn’t fathom why it was so difficult to attain simple absence, nothing must be less than something, after all. He knew, like Sisyphus, he would continue to search until he succeeded, the gods of his soul decreed it and you don’t fuck with them. It was difficult recalling how much time had been wasted in the search for mirrors and when he found one, looked, there he was selfsame, self-filled, and he imagined, selfish. He took to always carrying a hand mirror and when he thought he might have found it he glanced at the polished surface in his hand and there he’d still be, his endless self older now, but there, very much still there. One day, frustration getting the better of him he wandered deep into a massive forest, hours later sitting on a fallen trunk, he reached for his mirror, gone. There was tree and sky and earth, that was all, as night enveloped everything, even his no-self.