Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I was struck by a statement in a resistance-training book: if someone hit a point in training where they couldn't make any progress, it said, you couldn't just leave them doing the same thing this week as they did last week, because they would lose ground. There's no such thing as maintenance. If you're not gettting stronger, you're getting weaker.

“Maintaining” is just a tottery place where the forces in one direction temporarily equal the forces in the other. You don't get onto some plateau, where the forces of inertia are finally on your side. You're either going up or going down. Lama Michael once said precisely the same thing: “if you think you're not making progress in your meditation -- you're probably going backwards.”

I wanted to go to the sidelines and wait it out. I can't do that. Everything is a decision, forward or back. There's no neutral, no idle. What presents as a choice of three ways is actually only a choice of two ways. Up or down.

Which is not to say that there's no rest. There is. There's rest, there's sleep. But there's no limbo, no space between, no time out. There's no “good enough.”

I don't know how far I will fall, or what I will hit on my way down.

But it's better to be clear on this.

The glass is gone, and thank God! We've escaped the display room, for good an all. Now it's a long blind climb, the spelunking adventure of a lifetime. It may go underwater. But I'm not going to look for level passages any more. If it doesn't hold the promise of going up, I'm not interested.

Listen. If you listen, you can hear the air and the water moving, the respiration of the cavern. There's nothing dead or still here. This is the body of the earth.

I renounce all alliegances, close out all promises, cancel all debts. I'm going to climb to where I can feel the wind in my face and see the stars above the fir trees.

And falling, strangely enough, is the same as climbing: it's just climbing without traction. What matters is the intention. Falling will happen, it happens all the time. Falling is okay.

That's it. Nothing else.

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