At meals they sit elbow to elbow in silence, on the mat shoulder to shoulder staring into the wall. You know that most are searching deep in the silence and they grow sad, finding, the question is always just beyond grasp. She stays behind, sits alone on her mat calm in the interbeing.
There comes a moment at which both memory and history become blurred at the edges, where the bedrock on which belief has been so carefully erected seems more magma, shifting threatening to bring down the superstructure of desire and assumption. It is the fading that is at once both fear inducing and exhilarating for faith is tested and will most likely fail leaving uncertainty in place of illusion. This is the joy and treat of aging where your own life has former lives that you cannot be certain you lived, which seem familiar enough but never with the crystalline clarity you imaged memory must have. Memory is a Buddhist river and so much of the fun is continually getting your feet wet once again.
You say all you seek is moderation, simply finding a middle way, though nothing at all would suffice for you, no pleasure, no pain, no loss or gain, you would willingly attach to nothing at all. This is not the path the Buddha would tell you, for the place you claim to seek cannot ever exist, and if you wander in search of it you will not find it, but you most certainly will lose yourself. Do not wish for death while you are living, for the state of not living now is death and it will find you without effort on your part. And what is heat and cold, anyway?
A reflection on Case 48 of the Hekiganroku (Blue Cliff Record)
It was inside Nara that it finally slipped away. Its tether had grown ever weaker, the first slip was decades before, a book, brief meetings an answerless question. It stretched further in Tokyo, basin incense under the watchful third eye and hung perilously by fewer and fewer threads until, with the monks’ gentle bow, it broke and I found home.