Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A letter from Gabriel...

One of the best letters I've ever received!

Dear Thassa-
During the last correspondance we had (months ago), you asked me to write a sort of final report on our work together... I'm sorry that I forgot this obligation for so long! Perhaps it's a good thing, though, because I've had a bit of time and experience in which to really reflect on the impact of Emptiness. So, the following is my account, which you should feel free to post any or all (or none!) of publicly, with my name included.

First of all, let me say that you still have my deepest gratitude for taking the time to see me through, step by step, checking back in with me at various times, and finding new ways to shake things up when needed. Your relentless questions thoroughly permeated my life during that period of our correspondence, creating a sort of sublime confusion. It was fortunate that I had the time, health, and support from my friends and family as I railed to anyone who would listen about the amazing absence of a Self. After weeks of this, the impact finally settled in: While at work, deeply concerned with discovering if there was in fact anything at all to discover, I found my Self not so much disappearing as synchronizing, or falling back into the broad context of the Universe at large. It was a moment and an eternity (really, it was!), wherein a great, unified field was seen- and yet, nothing out of the ordinary was happening whatsoever. The world was not changed, but the insistence that there was an "I" in it was simply abandoned. No need to go along with the frantic story of How and Why and Who. It was a natural thing when it finally happened, like a leaf falling from a tree.

That impact has not gone away since, although a maturation of the impact is certainly underway. Life since that event has been much more simple and direct. Life is messy, yes, and problems, suffering, misfortune occur. And yet, all it takes is a glance over the shoulder, so to speak, and the Emptiness of things is readily obvious, and therefore the context and conditions of the problems are clear. To be more direct, I've seen my Mother undergo a sudden ailment and hospitalization, and instead of loosing my head, like I would have at one point, I was able to be a stabilizing influence to her and the rest of my very worried family. Or on a long river trip thru very rugged and remote Alaskan wilderness, I was able, somehow, to very calmly and clearly face great dangers, like ice-cold rapids and very close grizzly bear encounters. I even summoned up the balls to finally propose to my long-time girlfriend! Read this as gloating or hubris. Whatever. The point is, there is a very real and pragmatic result to realizing No Self, and it has something to do with optimizing the human condition.
Of course, there are no superpowers involved- quite the oppposite, it's simply being grounded in the here and now. This isn't about bliss states or ivory towers to sit high upon- just life, as it is, happening moment by moment. The key here is to stop resisting the flow of things. To stop insisting on having it "my" way, like a child does, and to instead swim in the powerful current of life, no matter what is thrown at you, like a full-grown human being. The things I describe here are really only the beginning. The Self does still try to slip in, now and then, but it only takes an instant, and the rug is yanked out from underneath it once again. Maybe one day it'll stop coming around.
For further guidance, I've found a lot of great help in ancient Chinese poetry, of all things. "The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain" (translated by Red Pine, aka Bill Porter), is fantastic, and makes me laugh and think every time I pick it up. Absolutly zero bullshit there! The writings of Zen Master Bankei are also very good, and quite different from a lot of other Zen fluff out there.
Anyway, much more work to be done in emotions, ethics, and contributing to others, to name just a few things! But for now... Life does suffice, doesn't it?

Thank you again, Thassa, for shining a light in the darkness, for being a guide. You are very good at what you do, and I hope you do it for a thousand others, too.

Yours truly,

photo credit:  Space I and Space II jay-cougar-prints

1 comment:

  1. Fuck, Alaska sounds hella fun...

    Great job with this one too!


thanks for the thoughts...