In my dream, the world was at peace, and I was riding across Kansas on a unicycle, towing my car, packed to the windows, my dog walking alongside urging me to speed up because she wanted to visit South Dakota. I am due for a tricycle, I remind the dog, “the grave more likely,” she responds with a sneer that teeters between love and spite, always precariously balanced, as is her food bowl on the roof of the car. I could tell it was a dream which is not often easy from its midst, by the utter lack of churches, synagogues and mosques, none to be seen and the Great Blue Heron nesting in a scrub pine on the shreds of Holy Books.
Today in odd places, at the most unexpected moments, a child will smile without reason, a young girl will laugh, the young boy will stroke the neck of a wandering cat, and in that place at that moment there will be a simple peace. Only the children will notice this, though it gives lie to those who deem peace impossible. A child knows that it is only preconceptions and attachments that blind adults to the peace that surrounds them.
The greatest speech is given only when the mouth falls shut. To talk of peace is to be at war with peace, to speak of war is to be at war. When listening disappears peace reemerges, when peace emerges the listener appears.
A reflection on Case 12 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye)
a day, clouds drop rain replacing tears locked inside stones and cloth red and blue unseparated still worlds apart orderly ranks all at attention and silence thundering anger a mad world soaked in peace only until midnight.
Are you serious? You have the temerity to ask me if I am sleeping? Seriously? If, for a moment, you thought that I was sleeping, why in hell would you jostle me and then ask me if I was sleeping? And how many times do I have to tell you that I never liked the name John. I am Jack and you know damned well that is what I want to be called, by everyone. It is not that hard. Here’s a hint, I was sleeping until you woke me. You realize if we weren’t family what I would be doing to you right now. But mom and dad would have a fit, so just consider yourself lucky, but know that someday I will get even with you. Remember I was there when you were a baby, so I have seen it all. And if the bells didn’t wake me, why should I care if they are ringing? Answer me that. Now go away, preferably forever.
He wants to have his midlife crisis in peace and quiet. He has penciled it in his calendar for at least five years now. Something always comes up, something that demands he be in public, and he simply will not have a crisis in that setting, no matter what. He’s sure he supposed to have one although as time goes by he isn’t sure what purpose it would serve, it isn’t that his life isn’t half over, merely that he has what he wants and the crisis is best used as an excuse to get something utterly unnecessary and useless, and that, for him, is so five years ago.
He always wanted to take the scenic route home, it didn’t matter if it took longer, he probably preferred that and he rarely commented on the scenery. It was more that he didn’t want to get where they were going and the scenic route was guaranteed to take longer and with luck they’d get lost once or twice along the way. He’d be fine when he got there, it was about the arriving, and the leaving both of which were abrupt, and abruption carried with it the fear he would never again find the peace of place.