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Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Noisy Place

I must loosen up and get my posture right! Also I'm not fully awake. What is the point of doing zazen while asleep?

A noisy sleepy mind!

The lake is enveloped by fog. The water is calm, motionless. Not even a ripple.


Long night, one dream salvaged:

I was in the mixing studio with Ismail. Suddenly I looked at the screen. There stood a giant airplane, shaped like a bird, but it had leather wings, like skin stretched between the long finger bones of a bat. I was aware that there was another airplane that I dreamed of all my life, that was built of feathers. I could choose which one I wanted to fly in.

The one of leather repulsed and disgusted me.

After that I could not sleep. For some reason I thought about the space program, Chuck Yeager, and John Glenn. Also for some reason I thought a lot about the chemical process for making soap, in the old days, first using wood ash to make lye, then combining the lye with various oils.

I wonder if the 'lye' in my dream had to do with any 'lies' in my life.

Ah, my dreamer sent soap, to wash my soul!


The wood in the stove burned out around one or two o'clock. The building went suddenly from being too hot, to frigid cold. My sweating turned to shivering. Towards morning I passed into a deep sleep. Now I am up, trying to begin the day's disciplines.

Writing. Zazen. Breakfast.


What spirit, other than discipline, or a mad sense of loyalty to craft, motivates me to write?

Czeslaw Milosz writes in his opening to Visions from San Francisco Bay:

"Each of us is so ashamed of his own helplessness and ignorance that he considers it appropriate to communicate only what he thinks others will understand. There are however times when somehow we slowly divest ourselves of that shame and begin to speak openly about all the things we do not understand. If I am not wise, then why must I pretend to be?"

What a synchronous gift to find these words at this time.

Never in my life have been so clearheaded about how unsure I am of everything. I feel ridiculously empty and out of answers!

The pattern that I thought organized my existence and the way I see the world seems more fragile than a butterfly's wing. The values I once regarded as rock solid, now seem useless lumps of wood, rotting back to the earth. How can I write? What can I write, what can I share? I have never been so clear in my lack of understanding. I am not wise, it would be pointless for me to pretend that. But how can I stand on one of my old soft stumps and read words to you which are not true?

Yet somehow words can be distilled out of any mental state, out of any point of being, or state of transformation  Ah, it just happens that now I am undergoing a great amount of suffering. I cannot say much about anything than what is happening inside me now. It is the only thing I am am sure of. As if in one night, all my old ideas deserted me, all the ways I used to think, are no longer there to confort me. I feel as if all the meaning wrung from my hardships of the past nine years had run away. All my conquering, which I built alone, is gone. How is that possible? And yet, since it has happened, I would find it difficult to go on living with these old bits of thinking and would not even want to.

If they left so suddenly, they must have been false.

What I wonder, turned them on their heels, and set them running?

Ah, I feel empty now. I don't feel immune anymore. Surely I will add, and build again. I suppose I will be more careful this time in what I take on.

I have been here before, once or twice. Each time I suppose it gets more difficult. I suppose it is all for the good, this cleansing process, this letting go. I thought it would happen on my trip to India, but it did not. Then I thought when I came back it would. But it didn't. Instead it rallied old energies. I built the airplane, and worked on the film. After that I was sure the collapse would happen. Like a waiter with too many dishes on his tray, I could feel it falling. I felt it falling in advance. I even planned for it.

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