It is far less a matter of space for we have that in profusion if mostly always beyond reach, but unnecessary anyway given our pervasive fear of being alone while always trying to define our particular uniqueness. The universe has a vastness we can never hope to grasp and so we turn inward, where space is constrained, and we can imagine impenetrable borders that exist solely within the mind. But the dimension that gives rise to fear and loathing is time, for it despite its vastness, is always finite and always, in our deluded eyes shrinking as the universe expands, and we know there is a point when time becomes a deathly singularity.
All singularities are naked and it is only when we clothe them that they crumble away. You step into this river only once but it is this water which will wet your feet when you step in the next and the next.
A reflection on Case 91 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
The saffron robed monks stoop carefully, dropping single grains of colored sand onto the mandala of peace. They rock gently as the intricate wheel takes shape and form. They are drawn to its center, closer day by day, countless hours focussed to a singularity. They interlace fingers bow a collective head and pray silently for a strong wind.
You like being here, but you suspect you would like being there as well, if not more than being here. This puzzles you, for you fear leaving here to go there, in case when you arrive there you don’t like being there and would rather be here. You should sit and ponder which is better for you, here or there, even though you cannot be certain just what is there, or what there will be here if you go there. But if you do go there, there will then be here, and here will then be there. Now consider why must here and there be different, since there contains here, and here is most all of there. This question is a naked singularity and deep within it lies everywhere you ought to be.
Out at the edge of the universe, time has no beginning and stretches endlessly, as a stone dropped, its ripples spreading outward across a shoreless lake. There is no time here at the margin, no space consumed by all space. I would touch the edge and press it outward disrupting balance until it all draws in to an infinite point, the stone at rest.
The infant girl smiles with infinite knowledge,
present wholly in this moment, knowing
no other, her eyes speaking with the wisdom
of all who have gone before her.
In those eyes your heart hears stories
of universes waiting to born, collapsing
inward, naked singularities, and compassion.
She doesn’t offer to teach you, but you
cannot help but look into her and learn.
Everyone can be a Buddha, she says,
all are, but too soon we forget and spend
so much of our lives trying to regain
the Buddha nature with which
each of us emerges from the womb.