Friday, February 19, 2021



Paula Modersohn-Becker

The point from the start was to figure out how to live. Some people grow out of asking "why? why? why?" -- with infuriating persistence -- in toddlerhood. Not me. Partly no doubt because my parents strongly encouraged curiosity, so I generally felt I was a good boy when I inquired. And then, I had a rare father who could actually tell me why the sky was blue, and what held the Moon up, or what was really happening in Southeast Asia. But mostly because what you don't know can cut you off at the knees, and often does. It's pure self-defense to know as much as you can, about everything you can. You have to look after yourself, in this life.

But you end up studying yourself in the mirror, and seeing a strange, inquisitive face examining you, with great attention, although maybe not with overflowing sympathy. The eyes overlarge, and the belly swollen with -- promise? Or what? You tell me.

How to live: which includes what to do with your days: maybe boils down to that. Certainly how to hold your days up to the sun. (Or up to whatever sky God gives you.) 

But first, anyway, you have to slow down and quiet down, until you can hear the drip of the snowmelt and the grooming of the cat and the shift of the heat exchanger. More haste, less speed. 

And so: I sit. For the first time in months. A couple minutes in, and the refuge prayers come back to me: I say them over and resume. Sit a few more minutes. Say the dedication prayers. "May I quickly realize Mahamudra." The great seal, the great gesture: and never in all my reading and practicing did I ever find out what the hell Mahamudra meant, beyond that literal translation. Which, in my current state, pleases me. Obviously, I don't know what it is: if I did I wouldn't need to realize it. That's the whole point.

Well. Good morning, dear ones.


Murr Brewster said...

Did we have the same father?

Dale said...

:-) More or less, I think.