An Unlikely Friendship Chapter 4

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A rock on a log with a stick.

Click for previous chapters: 1,2,3.

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…

“hello”

“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!

“police car”

“um huh?”

“POLICE”

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.

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An Unlikely Friendship Chapter 2

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…

“red dress”

“Huh?” he asked.

red dress” came again from the stone

“Um, okay… red dress…. Purple socks! How’s that”

…silence…

More silence….

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?”

An unlikely friendship

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.

Everything… today.

fleetingly forever

fleetingly forever

Contained within a moment exists all that ever was and all that ever will be. How can it be any other way? Just as the Big Bang contained all that ever could exist, it is that same right now, billions of years later.

In that moment, billions of years ago, there was no time, no space, no matter… vast emptiness… yet it certainly was not nothingness. It was everything-ness! Lol. And perhaps that emptiness wasn’t vast, but the opposite… tinier than tiny, lol. In fact, size didn’t exist. There was just emptiness. The fullest emptiness ever, lol.

That moment, it was timeless, and, by definition, it penetrates now. It transcends now. It is now.

The speed of light is the cosmic speed limit, yet within a Universe that began timeless, that limit doesn’t apply… it cannot apply.

Feeling one with all that is… feeling interconnected with all that is….. these are not airy-fairy, hippy-dippy words. They are not head-in-the-clouds, out of touch with ‘reality’ words. Yes, they can be, and perhaps they frequently are used in that manner, but when purpose and intent fall away from these words… these words ring true…ring Truth.

Now, I am not trying to say that science proves transcendental wisdom, that physics proves Buddhist philosophy.

Seeking truth requires honesty. It also requires courage… courage to temporarily let go of our deepest beliefs and see what we see remains.

A soft heart is not a weak heart… its softness actually is its strength. Let’s melt our hardened hearts a bit, let go of what we think is ‘protecting’ them and see what happens. What Truth emerges today? It has been patient for billions of years… is today a day for its freedom? For our freedom?

The Truth is Far Out, Man!

This is beautiful! This is Truth!

This is beautiful! This is Truth!

From what I understand, the Buddha said he would not explain the depth of his understanding because people would simply not believe it. He understood that his value as a teacher would be greater if he kept his mouth shut about certain things he understood to be true.

Oh, my mind races with this! Lol. What did he know that he couldn’t tell us? I mean, he did teach very deeply about the underlying nature of reality, and that in itself is pretty unbelievable! Lol.   But I think he meant understandings that would frighten people or make people think he was insane, incorrect, or worse. Perhaps he understood something like we are all living in many multi-verses, where infinite versions of ourselves exist. Maybe not. Maybe he knew of extra-terrestrial beings. Maybe not.  Maybe he knew of ways to transcend time and space and therefore could witness any point of the history of the cosmos, past, present or future. Maybe not. Maybe he knew of secrets that are even more insane and unreal! Maybe not!

Oh, my brain loves thinking about these things. Now, in and of itself, this is not good and not bad. It just is the mind working. Now, when I get caught up in these thoughts and attach to them, then I can feel the Buddha reaching through space-time and tap me on the shoulder! Tut-tut! I smile and realize that exploring truth is joyful and correct.. but when I attach an idea of what the truth will be before I experience it, then I fall. You know, the same is true with science. Proper, good science always is done without an attachment to the result.  When we think we know what the answer will be beforehand, then we might skew the result. Maybe that’s the simple reason the Buddha withheld information.. so we do not skew our results!!

Effort

Calmly bursting

Calmly bursting

Nature in Spring…. lots of energy transformations, lots of action….All of this busy work..it happens without effort.. yet it takes all the effort of the Universe.

What is ‘effort’? We can say our blood flows without effort… we do not have to put any effort into that.. it just flows and flows…

But what about carrying a heavy rock up a hill? That takes effort! What about the rutting animals? That takes effort!

‘Effort’ can almost be defined as an action that goes against the ‘easy path’. Now, in nature, matter seeks to be in the ‘easiest’ energy states and energy always works this way. Nothing wrong with ‘easy’! lol.

Now… back to carrying that heavy rock….. it would be ‘easier’ to not carry the rock up the hill, so we need to exert some ‘effort’ to go against this easier option of leaving the rock behind…. but we make the effort anyhow and pick up that rock and carry it up the hill anyhow! Why? Well, i don’t know, i just made this example up! haha… but lets say it is to be used in building a well or a wall or a house..whatever…. We have this concept, this idea, that the effort will pay dividends in the long run… We might have a dry, safe place to live after the house is built, for example… and this will save potential future effort of keeping dry, warm and fighting off bears!

Can we exert that effort of carrying that rock with exerting any effort? Is that possible? Does the beaver who drags huge heavy logs to the river and builds a dam think they are exerting effort? Well, they may feel exhausted and may need to rest up after dam building but I do not think the beaver is thinking they are going against the ‘easy path’.. If they did think about it, they would probably wouldn’t think there was any other choice, so ‘effort’ doesn’t have any meaning. They need to build a dam, so they build a dam.

Now, we as humans can learn a lot from our animal relatives. It could be argued that they are ‘enlightened’ as they do not attach to a concept of ‘self’. Yet, it could be argued that they are not enlightened as well. I will not go into the Mu koan (Does a dog have buddha nature? No!) here…. but it is a great koan for trying to understand what is happening… what makes humans different, if at all, from other animals and other beings and things such as plants and rocks.

Did it take the Buddha effort to sit under the Bodhi tree and witness Venus on the horizon? (i.e. his enlightenment)

Did it take the Buddha effort to get to the point of getting to sit under that tree? (ie. his seeking)

In Buddhism, one of the 8 folds in the 8 fold path is having ‘right effort’. Let us think deeply about what this means.

MEAT!

What is going on here?!

What is going on here?!

It is interesting how we react to certain things… how we pull with us our preconceptions, our past views, the trenches of thought our minds made long ago….

When I saw the above product, I was annoyed. It is NOT turkey and it is NOT steak! The ex-meat eater in me was offended! Lol. The comic in me found it humorous!

Meat-eater, vegetarian or vegan – we should all take the time to think about where the food we eat has come from.

Now, these ‘turkey steaks’… they are pretty tasty! I gobbled them up! HAHAHA.

The Infinite Universe?

Sun on the tops of leaves, Sun on the tops of our heads.... seeping into our brains and bodies, loving each without difference.

Sun on the tops of leaves, Sun on the tops of our heads…. seeping into our brains and bodies, loving each without difference.

Infinite is big. I mean, really big… HUGE in fact… It is infinitely big! Lol.

I often think about whether or not the Universe is infinite. I have written about this before and will probably write about it again, and again..perhaps an infinite amount of times! Haha.

So, the Universe might be infinite. If it is, then that opens up a huge can of worms! It means that every situation that is unfolding, a ‘duplicate’ situation is unfolding somewhere else in the Universe… an infinite amount of times. So, this instant you are reading this, has happened, in a sense, hundreds of times already in the past, hundreds of times right now and hundreds of times in the future… and not merely hundreds of times, but thousands, no, millions, no billions.. no… an infinite amount of times!

You would have thought we would ace all our exams in school if we studied all those billions of times! Haha.

But if the Universe is infinite, then not only are all ‘duplicate’ situations unfolding, but they are also unfolding with slight variations, and also major variations. Perhaps in another situation, your cat is black not white.. perhaps your car is red not blue…. Perhaps you’re grumpy and not happy! Lol.

So, if, and it is a HUGE if (an infinitely huge if!)… if the Universe is infinite, then all our experiences are spreading the whole of all experiences. We won that lottery, we got that job,  we got a 100% on the exam, etc…. but just as true, we also went bankrupt, we got fired and we failed that exam! Lol. That sucks!

So, where does that leave us? What does it matter? Is the Universe actually infinite or just really freakin huge?

Understanding to our core that we simply do not know, that honesty, is something special, something powerful. Now, that is not to say we give up trying to understand! Trying to understand the Universe while realizing it is impossible to understand seems, well, rather stupid.

Is there a way to understand without using understanding? Without getting into semantics, yes, yes we can understand without understanding. The goal-less goal.

If the Universe is infinite, ‘you’ have figured this out already, billions of times, and you will figure it out again, billions of more times, forever, without end.  When will you make it ‘your’ turn?

Let go of what binds us and feel what remains.

Ignorance is Bliss!

How much DDT contamination exists in this tree? What does that knowledge do to us?

How much DDT contamination exists in this tree? What does that knowledge do to us?

“Ignorance is bliss” is a common phrase in Western culture.

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” is a phrase I once saw on a bumper sticker. I could google its origin, but .. meh. Lol. (I will remain ignorant about it! haha)

Now, I think the two phrases are linked….

Stating that ignorance is bliss implies that being knowledgeable is painful.

Stating you are not paying attention if you are not outraged implies that, well, being knowledgeable is, well, painful or outrageous.

When I studied for my Bachelor’s degree, and to a lesser extent for my Master’s, I really resonated with the outrage statement. When a person pays careful attention to what humans do, to each other, to the earth, to animals….there is lots of joy, yes, but also lots of horror, lots of outrage.  That outrage is hard to let go of. When I was more ignorant of the horrors of the world, it was a more blissful place, in my little bubble, lol.

Now, I think it is obvious that ignorance isn’t the answer, lol. (It makes me think of Sam Malone from the TV show Cheers when he gave advice to Woody: ‘Ignore the problem. It will go away’)

So what do we do? It is easy to fall into a pit of hopelessness, despair and apathy.

Well, one thing is to never discount the joys, the triumphs, that occur in the world. The miracles, the sacrifices, the love… It is easy to overlook that when horrors are occurring. That is natural. If a person helps bring an animal back to life versus when a person kills an animal out of ‘fun’, it is natural to focus on the disturbing, the horror… the problem. We should focus on the problems. But the problems can become overwhelming. So we need to ensure we focus enough on the good, the positive, the love in the world.

What next?

Well, a Buddhist vows to save all beings from suffering.  How can we do that?! We must take good care of ourselves, save our own selves, then bring that freedom into the world.

It is said that when the Buddha realized his Enlightened nature, the whole world became Enlightened. Now, since the Buddha’s time, there have been great horrors…surely not all beings are enlightened, are they?!

Yes and no. We are all already Buddhas, and enlightenment is never separate from us. Where could it go?! Lol.

Ignorance is not bliss and paying attention is not outrageous. Let us meditate on that. By that, I simply mean, let’s just think about that.

Dinosaur desire-mind!

I want to eat you!

I want to eat you!

Desire mind- When we desire something, we can be said to have ‘desire-mind’. In Buddhism, this is a dangerous mind, as it will not help to end our suffering, and in fact, it only leads to promoting our suffering.

Now, what is ‘desire’? We may really crave mint chocolate-chip ice cream, hold a real desire to eat some! Now, this desiring can be fairly easy to be seen as potentially a losing venture. When we are dreaming of the ice cream, we destroy the present moment, we are thinking of a future which may or may not occur. We also reinforce our attachment to ice cream. In Buddhism, attachment leads to suffering, so being so attached to deliciously awesome ice cream is not the Way.

Now, what if we are dehydrated, stuck without water for days and days…. Our minds may be somewhat single-minded in obtaining water… desiring water, attached to getting water…. Now, is that a bad thing? lol. No way!

It can be seen how the evolution of our ‘desire-mind’ was a great tool in survival. The Universe knows what it is doing! lol. So, having desires is natural, and, when we do not attach ourselves to our desires, we can be free of their potential suffering. Now, even our attached mind focused on only getting water… That is fine, so long as we do not attach ourselves to our attachment! hahahaha. Sounds like escape-clause logic to me! But it is true….

Desires are natural, normal, yet we must think deeply about the origin of our desires and when the true origins reveal themselves to us, we can become unattached to them. So, even though you may always have a soft-spot for mint chocolate-chip ice cream, it doesn’t mean you need to be attached by it, to be governed by it.

Who is the master? Our desires or ourselves?

First one may take back control over their desires, then one may give back control over themselves to the Universe.