I leaned in to listen as nun spoke from a cushion at the front of the temple. She had a shaved head. With the back of her hand, she wiped sweat from her mouth every several sentences. She had eyes like embers and a clear vocal delivery that split the air. Hard to capture what it feels like to sit in the presence of a voice — and a mind — with this kind of pierce.
Her questions came on in a crescendo — How a fixed mind can’t see what is not fixed?; or “Who ever said there was a beginning or an ending?Whatever story you share, what came just before your story started?”
The ball peen hammer of her delivery produced an unrelenting succession of questions. I listened, squirmed, shifted, and then yielded. “It may be that there is no beginning. What came just before you? What comes after the last thing ?”
When I fall into a question tunnel like this, I lose my bearings the way I did when I was young. As a boy, I would walk into the center of the Boulevard and Mountain, and I would catch myself having stopped there. No measure of the length of time. I would look up. A car waiting for me to complete my crossing. I don’t know why, sometimes, I am still here.
“To think this way, that there is a beginning and an ending, is so arrogant,” she asserted. I answered (in my mind), that I thought these things were a given?” And, I kept my mouth shut, even during question time.
But she found me anyway, and began to point her questions my way. She shook my brain without moving it. She introduced in me the prospect that I may have overlooked the obvious —
That’s took in oxygen in a sequence of free-fall catches. “Don’t believe me! Do your own research.” And so it continues: “Well if that isn’t, than this can’t be. And is that’s not, than how could this hold up?” I took in sweet shots of air through my flared nostrils.
When lies lift, light flows.
If I have no beginning or end, then nothing (and no one) else does either. I think. . So, you name the moment, and I will be or will have been there. Same story. Leaving out of blind pockets occurs as a rarity and most definitely does not occur in a line.
The nun hammered away. “What came before speaks to what happens now. You are an unending story. To say you’ve been here a long time just makes a joke of the obvious.” Pertinent lesson: I am a research project. The gift is mine to appreciate.
I wondered at the next weeks (now years) — research into how to travel along a thread of consciousness and visit — where and whenever — or find my way to the long gone — and learn a kind of navigational control to direct my travels.
The lightness of knowing I can slide along an energetic line!
I want to be rigorous in my processes. Anything I claim has to hold up. But show me the eyes of someone who wants to see, and not someone who would rather sleep it off. I do believe I am on to something.
The things she transmitted she said had been observed. She said the Dalai Lama could remember standing at the back of a crowd, listening, as the Buddha spoke. She proposed that things observed by rigorous travelers to be true. I knew when I watched her eyes scan the crowd, she was speaking the of things irrefutable. I believed her.
I don’t believe that many people.