Years went by after that time in the book store…..and he never actually thought about it again. That is, until one day, while he was out driving. He was speeding ,which he didn’t normally do, but he was late. As he sped down the highway, his mind was thinking about how late he might be, what he could do to mitigate the situation and the like, when.. out of nowhere…
“Holy moly! Rock?!” He thought, and although he was asking for confirmation, he also needed none.
He just continued driving, speeding but safe, and for several minutes there was silence. Not the silence he remembered all those years ago as he could feel the rock with him and they both we simply enjoying each other’s mere presence. Then he began to think about all these past years… how could he possibly have never thought about this all these years? Then he thought about the last place he saw the rock… on his dresser… he knows it’s not there now, and he can’t remember moving it or seeing it… what happened to it?! Where is it right this very second?
“doesn’t much matter…. does it?”
“True I suppose but I feel like I failed you.. to protect you… to listen to you, learn from you”
He didn’t get words for an answer but felt it…. it was like a very very long, almost infinite plane of solid rock, almost humming – very deeply – very very quiet – almost beyond sound, or inside sound – the vibrations of the atoms in the air – so quiet yet almost infinitely loud. It didn’t make sense when he tried to comprehend it but when he simply felt it, he understood….. Protection is meaningless to the rock … how could the inside of a vibration need protecting?! And even that thought, he knew, failed to explain what he felt. He also understood that he couldn’t fail the rock… how could the rock judge another’s vibrations? And it’s not even like that he thought… those vibrations…that ‘sound’ it pulses into everything ,everything is pulsing into everything .. to judge would be like snake attacking its tail…. It can be done but it’s not very helpful!
He didn’t understand exactly but trusted the rock and he slowed down to the speed limit and sure enough after half a mile he saw a patrol car behind some shrubs with a radar gun.
Although he had plenty of reasons to be blown away already, this really floored him. Did he really just have an imaginary rock help him avoid a speeding ticket?! His brain began freaking out somewhat and he couldn’t control the expanse of thoughts and hypothesis to explain this all. Nothing could explain it that didn’t involve some level of sounding completely crazy. He realized he probably shouldn’t tell anyone .. he was not even sure if he could believe himself, so how could he possibly expect anyone else to?
He tried desperately trying to talk with the rock but his brain was buzzy with so much internal noise he couldn’t hear the soundless sound anymore. Although he kept trying, he knew the rock wasn’t going to reply to his calling out “Here rocky rock, here boy” as if he was calling a dog! But he was desperate. It was years since he last communicated with the rock and was afraid he may never again communicate with it.
He arrived a little late, which caused some issues, but nothing he didn’t sort out, but his mind the whole day was elsewhere.
He watched the woman in the red dress as she picked up a book on ‘crystal magic’ and brought it to the counter to buy it. All the while, he was watching her.. making sure she couldn’t tell he was indeed watching her…
And that was it.. she bought the book and was walking out the door… but as she was leaving he noticed her reflection in the big glass store windows… and she was looking right at him!!.. with a little smirk on her face no less!
“What is that all about?!” he thought…
“Many people do not understand rocks…. and those who understand something.. most mis-understand most”
“Most mis-understand most?! – I don’t understand all this understanding and mis-understanding!!” he thought, half in frustration and half in amusement.
“Pick up that book”
He picks up a book on ‘crystal magic’
“It is just like that but absolutely nothing like that”
“I think I get you…. there is something important there but it is not as explained in these books”
“Perhaps?!” he says laughing… and with that… poof….silence… not the kind of silence in between words spoken… or between thoughts.. but nothing… he felt the rock was gone again.
He thought how very strange this all was.. and how the rock wasn’t even with him, so how could it have just left?
He considered buying the book for a minute then thought : “What am I crazy? I have my own personal rock tutor, I don’t need some other person’s interpretation of this when I can get it straight from the horse’s mouth! – Oh man, I am crazy – listen to myself! And for some reason, I think the rock would find it very funny I called it a horse’s mouth! “
And with that, although very confused, felt very relaxed and a big smile formed and could not be erased from his face.
To see part one, click here.
So he put the rock into his pocket and gave it a little pat of reassurance.
“So, how long have you been a rock?” he asked… and while doing so realized how funny it sounded and this made him smile.
…laughter joined him ….
“yes, you know… a very long time”
“yeah” he said.
They kept walking through the woods, well, he walked, and the rock enjoyed the ride. This was highly unusual for the stone… It was used to not moving for eons at a time. At one point it was millions of years before it moved … A big storm had eroded the stream bank where it was embedded for (nearly) countless years….and released the stone…
“Huh?” he asked.
“red dress” came again from the stone
“Um, okay… red dress…. Purple socks! How’s that”
Then it felt like he just had a rock in his pocket.. nothing special….
He got home and put the rock on his dresser and forgot all about it ….
Some days later he was in a bookstore and just starting thinking about the stone…First he wondered if he kept the stone and recalled he put it on his dresser… yes.. he kept it… and he wondered about his ‘conversation’ with the rock…. Maybe his brain was having some fun and he did admit he enjoyed greatly the short time spent with the rock…. But he just thought it was all a bit too strange …. At that moment he looked up and noticed a woman in a red dress enter the store.
“yes that’s the dress”
“What? You’re not even here stupid rock!!” He said (not out loud!)
“You know that is the red dress”
“okay, okay, yes, I feel that… yes.. but what about it?”
All of a sudden his gaze stopped on a little rock. It was nothing special.. just one of countless others along the woodland path he walked. Leaves, twigs, rocks, roots, plants, soil… nothing out of the ordinary laying on the earth in the woods…. But this one rock… somehow trapped his vision from moving on….
He stopped walking and just stared at it… like it was speaking to him… so he laughed a bit, picked up the rock and asked it ‘So, what is it then, eh?’
He felt ‘You already know’ come into his heart.
He smiled, put the rock into his pocket and went on his way and that’s when their adventures together began.
The past and the future …. Many people have their minds existing in these illusionary places…. Living in the past or dreaming of the future…. In Zen, it could said that we strive to have our minds exist in the present moment..To be mindful of what is occurring now.
In practice, it may seem very hard to truly be ‘in the present’ ‘in the moment’ ..
At some point, after meditation and deep thought, a certain realization may occur… This striving to be in the moment, to stop living in the past and to stop desiring the future… is not very hard at all. In fact, we may see the opposite.. it is very hard to live in the past, and very hard dreaming of the future!
So, say, for example, we try to reverse our goal – to avoid fully living in the present and only live in the past and future – we realize something – you can’t escape the present! You simply can’t do it! lol
So, we may reach a point where we see that this is all there is.. this present moment – we may see that in this present moment, we can think of the past, we can visualize the future – but its only done right now. It can only be that way. This is all you have. It is really, really simple. This is it. Right now. It can never leave you no matter how hard you try!
All of the past and all of the future can only be contained and exist in the present. The arrow of time is not straight…. Just as the horizon on Earth makes the world seem flat.. at some point we can begin to see it’s not straight, not flat and it curves…so much it loops back onto itself. This is how the future can influence the past. Sound crazy? Perhaps! Lol. But the scientific method of seeking truth is also coming to this realization.
So what does this all mean other than giving me a headache? Lol.
For me, sometimes when I am struggling and suffering, I try to think about my ‘future Richard’ – and I know he has my back and I know he is affecting me right here, right now, sending me deep love and understanding. I love that guy.
Of course these are all just words, just models, conceptions.. but I hope they may serve as a medicine when taken as directed. 😉
Sometimes during contemplative reflection I become utterly disgusted with myself. I amaze myself that I allow myself to think and do certain things, that, when I look back objectively, I am stunned at myself.
Having low self-esteem is not healthy, of course, and meditation is usually not thought of as something to make you feel worse about yourself! lol.
Confronting our true selves can be hard. It is painful to accept we may not be the person we want to believe we are.
Ultimately, our true self is not ourself, and although we must have individual responsibility, we can never bear the load alone, no matter how isolated that burden may feel.
(I must say that sometimes during meditation I become utterly elated with myself… and although this may feel super awesome, it has its own dangers… mainly of reinforcing the illusion of my own self ego, but that’s a whole other story!)
I remember many years ago seeing a bumper-sticker and it really resonated with me. In our world, there are numerous things to be outraged about..and the more you look, ie. pay attention, the more outrageous things you will see.. and this will start to extend into things that are currently accepted as legal and normal…
I think the bumper sticker needs another verse however:
If you’re outraged, you’re not paying attention!
This brings it back home, back inside. … When we view our world, we may get full of rage, outrage… and feel more than justified… for example, feeling rage when learning about 53 people being murdered in a nightclub. No matter how justified we may feel with this emotion of hatred and rage, we should look at the origin of this feeling. (The origin is the shooting, idiot!) Anger and rage are natural.. why did we evolve these feelings? To help our survival… to put us in a fight-or-fight response. However, when we see these images on our computers, thousands of miles away perhaps, the flight-or-fight response becomes unnecessary…. we are too far away to help protect the people and too far away about trying to get away from the danger. Sure, you may say that rage fuels our fight response, which we can take to stopping others before they get the chance to do the same in the future. But this type of ‘fighting’ would require a strategy, and therefore the immediate ‘fighting’ could not be achieved (ie. the rage we may feel can not be acted up in a constructive way).
So, bringing it back inside ourselves… if we pay close attention, we do not need to be filled with rage, it will not help anyone. Sure, when we first learn of horrific events, we may feel anger and rage.. that is natural… but it is not natural to hold onto this anger… in nature, we evolved to have an immediate response to this anger…
When we look inside ourselves, we may see that running or fighting/protecting isn’t a valid choice given our position. So what shall we do? Let it fall away and see what remains… Once the anger and rage are released, we may begin to see things more clearly and have a better idea of what could be done.
Using our minds we can explore the nature of who we are.
The short question we can ask is: Who am I?
This simple question can be expanded as far as we like to help us, or to hinder us.
When I probe this question, I always do so from an analytical mind-frame. So, I always will go through the normal facts of what I can define myself by.. I am an animal, a mammal, human. Step one done, lol. Next I may probe deeper… ‘who is thinking this?’ and then I quickly answer myself ‘Richard’, lol. So I change the question to ‘what is thinking this?’ .. and I will then ascend to how the human brain biologically functions.. and review all the various scientific articles/books/etc I have experienced over my lifetime.. how the brains thoughts are almost all hidden from our outward consciousness .. how our brains are bendable… how there may be some ‘hard-wiring’ in place, but how almost all the wiring is soft and we can unplug some wires and plug them into other sockets. ..
A river carves the earth without choice. Depending on the underlying densities of soil and rock and slope of the land, the water will form the shape of the river, without effort. Our brains are like the Earth, they are bumpy. External stimuli are like the rain falling on our brains… they enter our world and transform it.. they form rivers of how to think again when the same stimuli happens again, the path has been laid. Over time, the river gets deeper and stronger and sometimes, no matter how hard we try to stop going down a certain river in our brains, we are dragged along. Say, for example, a child was raised by racist parents and everytime the child saw a person of another race, their parents would talk badly of those people and tell the child how bad people of that race were. Over time, whenever this child would see a person of another race, they would have this channel, this river entrenched in their thought processing, this soft-wiring, kicking in and the thoughts would be taken down this racist river. Say, for example, as an adult, this person comes to understand that racism is nothing short of ignorance mixed with fear, they will still struggle deeply from flowing down the racist river in their mind when presented with the stimuli of a person of another race. This person, as all of us, can perceive this river, comprehend it, and we have the power to redirect that river. It is super hard to do, yet, in an instant, it can be without effort and a new non-racist river of thought can flow.
In Buddhism, we talk about letting go… that our thoughts, no matter what they are, are OK, so long as we are not attached to them…. We must realize that almost all of our thoughts are created by the attachment we have with our rivers… the path of least resistance. It is difficult to paddle upstream. So, in a sense, I am saying that almost all of what we think is a form of attachment! So stop thinking! Lol. We can’t stop the generation of thoughts, so what can we do? First, we must be so very kind and gentle with ourselves. Enlightenment does not take place when we align all our rivers appropriately or something like that, however, we can provide better nutrients for the unfolding of Enlightenment if we are mindful of our river management. Sometimes a painful river, one that brings you to rage and fury, for example, can be completely dried up in an instant once we flow upstream and see the origin of this toxic river. Enlightenment won’t remove the entrenched rivers of thought, but it removes their power. If a river is healthy and part of our natural function and nature, it is maintained. If a river is toxic, it will naturally dry up over time and fade away, perhaps leaving some scars behind.
Then I will come back and say, what was I asking myself again… oh ,yeah.. Who am I? lol. I have this thing called a brain, which evolved through the influence of everything around it over time, making its origin outside of ‘me’ and this brain thingie also operates and is shaped by the external stimuli as well.
Then I think, man o man, I have only approached this so far from one angle. The biological brain. But what about my heart? My body? What about far-out theories too?
The path of questioning of who we are is endless, and at some point we may realize… we are endless.
That is who I am.
Sometimes it seems impossible that we are sitting watching the fire.
The air is soft, full and still. The fire was started a long time ago and we sit and just gaze into its presence. We slowly allow the fire to melt away our awareness… no sitting, no looking, no air…no me or you, just fire. .. we sit transfixed and only fire remains…. Then, slowly, the fire fades away and out of this emptiness… a mouse appears, and then a wolf…
Running on all fours, our feet know the destination and our minds are clear.
The pounding of the earth with our paws rings throughout our ears and soon we fall into just this sound… turning into our heartbeats….. pounding and pounding…. fierce and true… then we start to see our feet are moving, around and around they take us around the fire … and then our eyes look up and meet. … and we realize what we always knew.