Sunday, July 29, 2012


I guess everyone's got a way or ways to check in with their own bedrock nature -- the je-ne-sais-quoi realm in which benevolence and heinousness, improvement and conformity, activism and laziness simply slide into the sky and what remains is just edgeless and true.

There's something to be said for touching base with what is true. I'm not talking about spiritual salesmanship or philosophical anointing ... just what's true. What is true demands nothing, deflects all attempts to file it under 'T' for "true," and carries with it neither danger nor delight.

An example? Well, perhaps silence is an example. Everyone knows about silence, but the race to fill it with sound sometimes obscures its unwavering presence. Silence isn't good or bad, holy or unholy, tall or short, worthy or unworthy, imperative or lacking in imperative force. It's just a fact, and individual, two-armed, two-legged human beings know it.

Zen Buddhists, Taoists, Carthusians and others whose spiritual formats include a well-shaped dose of silence may clap each other on the back for being a part of a practice that incorporates apparent silence, but however useful such enforced exercises may be, still ... silence doesn't mind. Facts don't mind when 'profound practices' are brought to bear any more than they mind when such practices are not brought to bear.

Personally, I feel lucky to have gotten a whiff of a practice (Zen Buddhism) that asserts and formats silence, even when that practice can be pretty noisy about it. Somehow, for reasons I really don't know, it is useful and important to check in with the facts of life. It feels better, it is more sensible, it ... hell, I don't know 'why' it is important and I shy away from those who do.

What about silence? Sure, it's got some scary potential, but coming to terms with the scaries in life is part of a peaceful relaxation, I imagine. And silence can send folks into paroxysms of delight as well. Still, silence, the silence that is a bread-and-butter fact in anyone's life ... well, there it is, here it is ... and 'is' overstates the case by quite a lot.

With or without a format that points the way, still I think it is useful to check in and check out the facts of life. If a fact infuses a life, if it cannot be escaped, if it, in some sense, 'owns you,' isn't there a time to 'own' it right back?

Maybe, now and then, it's a good idea to 'get real.'

Or 'unreal' if you prefer.

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