The first one felt right, there was nothing deeper considered, just that feeling that now, I know, anyone might have provided but then, it was something in a world of nothing.
The second, really, was certainly right, for life this time, the wisdom of a single failure enough to ensure success, and when it came apart thirty years later, it was apparent it was never right, just more than nothing.
This one is right, for it does not require feeling so, merely being in her presence, a completeness I never knew, which explains why this time nothing can get in the way of the ultimate everything.
Last week it was hers but we felt it ours, and wondered why her furniture, her life was impinging on this “our-ness.” Today it is ours and empty, and it has a deep sense of “whose-ness,” where we can see how easily “ours-ness” might return. Next week it will be our home and we will impose our us-ness on it and it will bend to our will as we will bend to its, in the marriage will be complete.
If you come upon both beggar and nobleman see neither wealth or poverty, smell neither the fine rosewater or the crying need of a bath, hear neither the ravings of one or the philosophy of the other, taste neither the fine curry of the moldy bread crust, feel neither the tattered rag or the purest silk.
In the mirror of Zen both men have your face and there is no one standing in front of you.
If you think about it, it will suddenly disappear, if you do not think about it, it will reappear, but do not try and understand for understanding can only come from the final surrender of understanding. It is the back of your head in a mirrorless world which others see but you can not.
A reflection on case 76 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
The one thing that will drive him crazy is a sign with a star, or square, or anything that says “You Are Here.” The one place he has never been, will never be, is standing on a map. He admits he may be nearby, but here is out of the question. He’s never really sure where he is, but he is always here, even if no one else can be. He would like to go there sometime, but he knows that even if he makes the journey when he arrives he will be still be exactly here, so why waste the effort.
In this place there is a fatted, sacrificial silence. It is the large Jewish Cemetery nestling the road where Maryland and the District are loosely stitched together. It is a small plot goldenrod dirt outskirting Lisbon.
This ground is sacred not for the blessing of one who has taken the tallit of holiness. The sanctity of this ground leaches from the simple pine boxes that return with the body to the soil.
The stones, mostly simple with neatly incised Hebrew inscriptions are all blank to me, worn smooth by memory denied. I place my ear carefully to each, wanting to hear a voice, a fractured whisper that will resonate in the hollow spaces.
I pass by those with shared names for if he or she is here each must share the isolation they willed me. I look at the faces of passing mourners — none resemble the morning mirror.
I grow tired of the search, sit in the paltry shade of the ricinus plant knowing we both will be gone by sundown.
First Appeared in Legal Studies Forum, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2005.