Wisdom from Kabir, Mark Nunberg, and Agnes De Mille
Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.
-Agnes De Mille
I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!
And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.
Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
and stand firm in that which you are.
A parable from Mark Nunberg about screen doors as a metaphor for looking at things through the lens of the 5 Aggregates rather than the lens of identification:
Imagine a person who loved screens. Perhaps their family business was to make them. This person notices everything about a particular screen: the color of the wire, the size of the screen, how far apart the threads are, whether it is clean or dirty. They spend a long time every day fixated intensely on the screen on their back door. One day someone suggests that there is something about screens they are not noticing. At first they are affronted, but they believe them enough to investigate. They look at the screen with a beginner’s mind, as though it is the first time they are seeing it. The focus of their eyes relax and lo and behold they are able to see beyond the screen and into the back yard.