Wednesday, August 8, 2012

parallel lines

Spiritual endeavor, like sex and badminton, is an exercise best left to the young. The old have too much to do.

Science says that parallel lines meet in infinity and I imagine there is some flowery math that proves the point. The statement can beggar the self-absorbed mind, but not even math can prove what anyone already knows in simple experience.

Haven't we all seen the tiptoeing sun that announces the delicate transition from night to day ... a transition that is real enough and yet, on closer inspection, is no transition at all. And what of the temple gong that rings out across some misty valley, growing softer and softer and softer until at last it 'transitions' into silence among the self-absorbed ... but really there is nothing left to say but that sound is silence and silence is sound and parallel lines meet in infinity and all that talk is just an exercise for the young.

If parallel lines meet in infinity what 'meeting' could possibly occur?

The parallel lines of cruelty and kindness are true enough and no joking matter, but they are matters best left to the young. Likewise the realms of the wizened and the wise are largely a matter of youthful, imaginative horseshit. The caring, if frazzled, mother issues the order: "Why don't you take your parallel lines and go out and play, dear?"

There is no escape from the parallel lines of cruelty and kindness. None. Their lessons are unending imperatives. But the answer to their imperious cries does not lie in extending the lines still further, as if you too might somehow 'reach' infinity. The young bob and weave like boxers in the ring -- ducking one blow and delivering another, asserting 'goodness' and fending off 'evil,' practicing 'kindness' and pointing out 'cruelty,' raising 'questions' and finding 'answers.' The parallel lines will not be denied, nor ever could be. It's a peppy business, like sex and badminton.

Cruelty and kindness are true and not a matter for philosophers or assertive and piercing wails or wows. Listen to the gong from across the misted valley -- fading, fading, fading until it dissolves into the never-more and the never-missing.

I am cruelty and I am kindness and yet, when the sun rises, where else could I be. Parallel lines never meet not because they couldn't but because they have always met and always will. 'Meeting' is a young man's sport. Where else could I be?

Listen to the gong.

And, since there is no other option, be kind.

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