Perhaps it is just that I do not have a mantle on which to place the cherished artifacts of my life, my parents and grandparents photos, a family Tanach, the tallis my first adoptive father wore to his Bar Mitzvah.
I have nothing, which this day seems sadly appropriate, for their history really is not mine, never was, I simply borrowed it for a time but all loans must end for that is their nature.
I have a photo of her gravestone the worman who bore me, of her in her college yearbook, of him in a group shot of his unit, in uniform but I still have no mantle and so little to place there if i ever did have one.
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.
He awoke this morning, and was surprised to be there, he said, because when you are ninety, and can’t get around at all, you don’t look forward to tomorrow, for it will simply be a repeat of today when nothing will happen. And it is harder still, he says, because he can’t remember much anymore, so it’s hard to say if today is any different than a week ago or a month ago, though they say he was in the hospital then, but he don’t know why he was there. When I stop for a visit the next day his is surprised to be there, he says as though it was a new thought that just came to him in the moment.
Standing outside the Temple there is much to see. Enter the Temple zendo prostrate three times before the golden Buddha what do you see? Can you see nothing? Outside the Temple, Buddha inside the Temple, Buddha but only when you see nothing. Outside the mind, nothing, inside the mind, nothing. All Buddha.
This morning I plucked a thread of silence from the dawn, watched, carefully by a cardinal who knew not to break the purity of the moment. I do this as often as I can sometimes grabbing one from the moon, as it sits overhead, holding out its promise of quietude as people retreat into homes. From these threads I have begun to weave a shawl, which, when done I will drape over my shoulders as I sit on the zafu and welcome nothingness into a space I create from everything around me.