Tuesday, January 20, 2004

All the same, and all different. I am on the verge of weeping half a dozen times a day. It's been such a long exile. Day by day, painstakingly putting my words into a foreign language. And suddenly to find someone from home.

No, it's not safe. But what is? Boredom is more dangerous by far.

I have the dharma this time. And I am older. (I may not be wiser, but at least I move slower.)

I've started writing a couple times, and stopped, and only now have I realized what was wrong. I was starting at the wrong end. Starting with catchphrases, platitudes, explanations. All that is worse than useless.

So I walk through this transfigured world. I am unsafe, unwarded. And now, walking among the old, decayed fortifications, it's clear that they were never any use anyway. They never made me a whit the safer. Vast cement ramparts to hold back mice, and mousetraps to stop the tanks. It's only accident that held this line. Or grace.

I will not name this thing.

One word is too often profaned,
For me to profane it;
One feeling too falsely disdain'd
For thee to disdain it.
One hope is too like despair
For prudence to smother,
And pity from thee more dear
Than that from another.

There is no need, and there is no way.

But Shelley was wrong, disastrously wrong. I wish he'd lived to make his expedition to the East. Finding his way at last to Kham, to sit at Jamgon Kongtrul's feet, and say, "Master, what was I doing wrong?"

And Kongtrul grins. "Just trying a little too hard to make it real, boy. Just trying too hard. It's already real, with no help from you."

Already real. The good time has already come.

No, not to ignore Harriet, drowned in the river, nor the little graves dotted across Italy. That would just be trying to make it real in another way.

It's never been real, and it's always been real. Now have some tea, and get some sleep, boy. You can sleep now.

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