I stooped and spoke to a stone, asking the question. I was here before you arrived and I will be her long after you leave. I held the sand in my hand warm from the sun, asking the question. I came after your arrived and I will leave long before you are gone. I held the winter wind on the tip of a finger, asking the question. I am not here now and I have never been here. I touched the waters to my lips, asking the question. I was above you when you came and I will be below you when you go. I saw the flames dance before me, asking the question. You were ashes once and you shall be ashes again. I stood mired in the clay clinging to my legs, asking the question. It is of me you were formed and it is to me you will return. I sat at the foot of God blinding light, asking the question. You cried to me at birth and you will cry to me at death.
There is probably much that could be said, a bit less that should be said, but I I’m not the person to say it, and remain silent. You are surprised by the silence — it is not what you expect of me, and that you find disconcerting and a bit unnerving. If I asked you what you would have me say, I doubt you could find anything in particular. It is more the sound of my voice you expect, not the words I choose to utter or retain. It all comes down to words, doesn’t it? And yet they fail us with such regularity, we each must wonder why we speak at all.
The cemetery is a place of monologues, family histories laid bare, admissions, secrets long kept hidden finally revealed You must listen carefully, for the voices speak only in hushed tones, befitting both place and circumstance. There is no dialog, no riposte, no response for in this place, that would be put of place, censorious, Thy are respectful, one speaking, a pause, then the next, and time seems meaningless to them, the tale is all that still matters, and matters deeply. Pause, if you will, and learn, but say nothing for we dare not speak ill of the dead.
He lived in a world of acronyms. He hated them. He knew they were ubiquitous and becoming more so. Modern discourse, some said, couldn’t happen without them, since modern discourse didn’t involve people speaking words, but devices interacting. Though how a PDA could be LMAO was beyond him. Still he knew all about FIFO and APR’s, not to mention his interactions with SSA about his SSI. But he knew, above all else, that the reliance on these instruments would always have one fatal flaw, and that was best summed up by the only acronym he thought remotely justified: GIGO, for that was what left everything FUBAR.
He is looking for words. There are no words. He feels he needs to say something. There are no words. He feels deep pain. There are no words for his deep pain. Many are speaking. There are no words to speak. Everyone is looking for words. There are no words. Everyone wants to say something. There are no words to say. Everyone fears the silence. There are no words in silence. He accepts the silence. He stops looking for words.
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 re-emerges, when peace emerges the listener appears.
A relection on case 12 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
In a Jovian moment Luna paused her wanderings and sat patiently above the trees that stare down on the street. You know they are speaking, want very much to listen in on their conversation, but the birds are busy singing their evening songs, and pay neither moon nor planet the attention that they are due. Soon enough Luna recommences her nightly trek across the sky, while Jupiter stands still a moment longer, enjoying his starring role in this nights heavenly show.