Friday, July 08, 2011

Eye to Eye

The Boy by Seeking Tao
Bennie, my other little dog
I take many photos of my face… I do not know why I do this.
I am not particularly fascinated with it, and I cannot say there is anything at all I hope to find there…
Whenever I see myself in the mirror, or in a photo, it is in some way like looking at a newly made map of a continent surveyed and explored for the very first time.
Excitement and possibility.
Unknown and dangerous.
There are no memories or experiences of the thing.

Takuin, Self Portrait

I like Takuin. I like him a lot. He is so obviously awake.
It feels soft and good to visit his site and the Asian flavored beauty there.
But, when I read these words, I felt such a wave of dismay.

Geez, I look into the mirror and I have memories. Or at least a head full of thoughts and is that not experience?
So, I exhale in dismay. I am nowhere near awake!
I am flooded by the very kinds of impulses Takuin encourages one to drop.

I read his words again in some desperate attempt to understand, only to find more failure:
When I look into a mirror or at a photograph I am fascinated.
I can be stopped cold by fascination: “My god, is that what I look like?”

It seems the deepest mystery.
“I am that.”
It is totally astounding…
“There are no memories or experience of the thing.”

Suddenly, I understand!
Takuin just chose different words like:
newly surveyed, explored for the first time, unknown, excitement.
Now, I see they fit. Their poetry was just slightly at a different angle.

I have been wrestling with the question , “Am I awake?”
But, looking in the mirror and being presented with my supposed face, simply undercuts so much confusion.
I KNOW that I am not my body. Who I am is Mystery beyond words.
Otherwise, the mirror could never be so strange.

It is so obvious.
I had a little dog once, Annie. She loved to climb the kitchen stairs so that she could peek through the banister and meet my partner or me directly eye to eye.
Eye to eye.
Even a little dog recognizes that she and I, that consciousness, pours most clearly through the eyes. Forget this body stuff.
And if a little dog knows this, surely I can get it too.

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.
Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.
The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.

But, you see, we can look into a mirror with a couple different levels to the focus.
Sometimes I look and focus on my face, the reflection of the Light.
Sometimes I look and instead notice a greasy smudge or scar upon the glass. The moment my attention goes to the imperfection, I lose all notice of my reflection. And I get lost in the mirror's dirt.
But, that doesn’t mean for a moment that the image, the reflection, has disappeared.

Eye to eye, there is only Light.
And of course we are awake.

But, there will be times the focus falls upon the flaws.
That is an interesting phenomenon, that little subtlety of focus. Even with the routine of looking in a mirror  sometimes we look and notice the glass instead, if only for a moment.

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