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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13: Absorption

Day 13
Crimson light through pine shadows.
Setting sun settling in the ocean.
Night follows the setting sun,
Day follows the fleeing moon.
-Deng Ming-Dao

Deng Ming-Dao writes, "...true absorption is a total involvement in the evolution of life without hesitation or contradiction. In nature there is no alienation. Everything belongs."

If we allow life to unfold in its own way there is no hesitation or contradiction. However, if we try to control its evolution we are bound head-long into either a psychological or emotional wreck. Do we really know what does or doesn't belong in our lives? Control of our personal agenda is a complete illusion. There is a tremendous amount of perception being reflected back at us as perspective when all that's really going on is mind chatter (chitta) and ego projection.

During my walks in the woods I find that nature is beautiful in the winter - life & death co-existing next to each other - texture and color, space and mass, order and chaos. You can get absorbed in the wholistic view of the moment - trees, birds, brooks, rocks, ice, snow, etc. But, if you just stop to look at a detail, say the pattern of stones or how a leaf is folded, then you realize that it's similar to getting close enough to see the brush stroke in a painting. You're in awe - one motion created the illusion, one stoke supported the creation of a work of art. Everything belongs!

A limb broke from a holly tree during a winter storm and it fell in the middle of the trail, but that branch doesn't contradict the babbling brook flowing ten feet away. What would contradict this situation is if I placed an agenda onto it vs. non-responsiveness, just accepting the circumstance. Granted, the fallen limb is in the middle of the trail and it's in my way. I walk around it. The human factor of involvement vs. absorption means responding to a situation instead of leaving it alone, allowing it to just be. I'm not saying this is easy. The philosophy is against our programming. That broken limb I referred to was left there over a week ago, today it was gone. What makes the limb wrong and us right? By being absorbed in the fact that the limb is in the middle of the trail, did that person who moved it lose sight? Did he/she miss moving closer to hear the brook singing its little babbling song?

Ding Ming-Dao calls it absorption when we embrace nature and aloofness when it's in regard to the human agenda - "...questioning ourselves at the wrong times, or letting hatred and price cloud our perception. Our alientation is self-generated." The human agenda alienates us from our inner nature and the natural world. Is absorption without hesitation? I think absorption can involve hesitating - considering an act, waiting to even take a step forward. Hmmm, then that isn't taoism because it's too calculated, there's no flow. Is contradiction caused by acting without hesitation and disregarding causality? What about The Butterfly Effect? What effect did moving that branch from where it fell on the trail create? Maybe nothing, maybe something. I thought about moving it myself when I first approached it, but I didn't. I hesitated. I decided that it wasn't my place to change it. I walked around it. Or, should I have turned around on the trail and not concerned myself with visiting the babbling brook? In both cases did personal agenda come into play? Is there any evidence that everything was as it should be? I just have to accept that I belonged there.

Ding Ming-Dao writes, "...if we intergrate ourselves with that process (absorption of nature), we will find success. Then the sequence of things will be as evident as the coming of the sun and the moon, and everything will be as it should be." 

Nature absorbs you
like a sponge holds water -
you belong.

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