[I posted these thoughts on facebook on December 11th and 20th and January 16th. Since I have some readers here who I'm not linked with on facebook, I wanted to put this here for context. These have been truncated and edited in places...]
December 11, 2017:
Today, I taught what I believe will be the last math class that I’ll teach in this lifetime (or it was mostly that I sat around jotting my thoughts down while students worked on a final exam).
Tomorrow, I begin a wide-open adventure in which I attempt to conjure a life made of dreams. That is, I step out of an old reverie into a new one… where hopefully, trueness is in play.
* That's my class up there in the photo! Last class.
December 20, 2017
“ 'Cause if I laugh just a little bit
Maybe I can forget the chance
That I didn't have to know you
And live in peace, in peace” --Cat Stevens
Some of us carry a profound inner yearning that can stay hidden from view as we refuse its call. And maybe we do so because it comes with just as deep a commitment that’s required of us in the pursuit and engagement of it, and we don’t feel fully capable of embracing the entirety of that endeavor?
I’ve had this thing in mind for years. Yet, have done close to nothing. Maybe a few brief flirtations. Not only have I not chased it, I’ve denigrated its value in my mind in different ways. Maybe so that I could forget.
But somehow, upon unburdening myself of what had become burdensome, the very first thing that shows up is this: I walk into a restaurant, run into someone I know and respect, we start talking—and it’s wonderful and lively—and somehow the topic turns to this, and he mentions a chapter in a book, and then a few hours later without any prompting on my part, he sends me a free link to the chapter (which was also published also as a journal article)!... I didn’t have to do a thing! It simply shows up in my inbox, as if by magic.
I spend a few hours reading a few pages. I can’t imagine a deeper happiness. Then a few more hours and a few more pages. And I marvel, How did I end up with this? It’s not quite bread and fish materializing out of thin air, but it’s like that. There’s a deep wish (deeper than I know), and there’s a subsequent appearance.
This long dismissed call: a yearning so quiet and patient. I can’t think of anything more meaningful and liberating. It’s already started…
For the curious: http://enlight.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTE…/JR-PHIL/phil355285.pdf
(A few days later, I unknowingly purchase a book on Amazon, thinking that I’m saving it in my cart for future perusal. I only find out because I can’t track a suspicious-looking purchase on my credit card. Needless to say, it’s around the same thing… I finish this book in a few days. (It’s easy reading.) A few days later, I swear I hit the “send a free sample” button on another book exploring the same topic, but next thing I know, the entire ebook is in my kindle library. So I happily begin that one as well. Maybe amazon is broken? Or maybe I’m in a dream state where my body is doing differently than what I’m perceiving? Or maybe the Pull is irresistible? Principle: When it starts, it can be insistent.)
Apparently, the first part of the adventure is inward. (Or isn't it always?) ☺️
[Almost two months later: It seems that the entire adventure is inward; the outward is more like the wake, the after-effect, the manifested but not the experienced, a step behind, not the heart of it... ]
January 16, 2018: A personalized rephrasing of the the Middle Path
When I was younger, the world felt open and life so fluid— maybe even too much so for a fragile mind? Things didn’t feel so pinned down; reality, including identity, wasn’t solid and seamless. Music, dreams, and romance flowed. Conversations sparked the mind and heart. Coincidences and synchronicities abounded, as if one were being led into a mystery beyond grasp.
Then life kind of happened. Maybe some worldly success and accomplishment. A long-term relationship. Or two. Working at it. Wouldn’t have given it up for all the world. Even now. And yet, the porousness of reality slowly gives way to solidity and stability as if this were an achievement. Showing up to work. Making a steady income. Establishing relationships. Broadening one’s influence. Structuring a life. All the things that seem so important and meaningful, as agreed-upon by the larger culture, begin to fill the mind, and in turn, this life. Most of what shows up is now explainable. Fewer and fewer glitches in the Matrix. Fewer deja vu’s and inexplicable encounters. Less events conspiring as miracles. The spirit suffers.
Then one day, the whole thing begins to fall apart. Or one becomes a willing accomplice to the dissolution. That is, the Call deepens. And there’s really only one Call here. It’s to dissolve the seeming solidity. To see through *into* the Dream. It’s to shed each construction of thought and belief of how things are. Including this.
And as the whole thing comes crashing down, music starts to flow again as events seemingly conspire, the heart dances, the spirit soars, and the soul settles as the mind experiences a happiness independent of circumstance. Solitude becomes its own gift. The richness of the universe opens.
~ It’s all here, it turns out (and it’s not, and it’s neither, and it’s both). [tilde at front for the logicians.]
(Summary of the Middle Path: All ground gives way to space, as space becomes the ground, only to lose all essential qualities, including space and ground. Herein lies the deepest freedom.)