When the master takes his seat what do you expect of him? Do you watch his posture or how his hands are set. Do you stare at his lips and what do you hear when they move, but no sound comes from his throat. Listen carefully, for here the dharma unfolds like the first chrysanthemum.
A reflection on Case 79 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
In the beginning there was a void, stasis, dimensionless. I am a point, without size taking form only in motion, so too the seat on which I sit on United flight 951 not going from point A to point B for neither can exist in motion transcending time.
Each decision sets one me on a path, into a dimension, dimensions while I tread a different path and I a third, yet I have seen the step ahead before having been on its path as all random walks must cross endlessly. The universe grows crowded with exponential me’s creating paths, and so must expand, until we cross and in some minuscule amount contract the cosmos.
Often I seek pain to slow the pace, or pleasure to quicken it, always immutable. I have learned all of this in my endless search for my paradoxical twin who prefers the accelerated pace, moving as quickly as possible, who looks younger at each intersection. Good night Albert.
First Appeared in Afterthoughts (Canada), Vol. 2, No. 4, Autumn 1995.
I am pressed into a seat that would conform only to the body of some alien creature, or so it seems, for hours into a flight that increasingly seems eternal, particularly for the baby two rows back, who, like me would much rather be anywhere else. The crew dims the cabin lights the universal indicator of “Don’t think of bothering us, we fed you and will give you a snack in the morning, only if you behave, so off to sleep with you all.” As my back and neck rebel, I remind myself it could be far worse, the food poisoned, perhaps, not merely inedible, for this, despite appearances, is only the second ring of hell.