September 2, 2012

10,000 Things

We asked for a table in the sun at the Nameless.  "Good morning, my dearest." The morning is oh-so-lovely with a whisper breeze, warm sun on our shoulders, and a hint of autumn in the air. I love mornings like this one. Especially when I'm with you, a dear friend smiling at me from across the table, sunbeams in his hair.

I was thinking more about intimacy. I think there is more yet to explore here. Especially there is more when we consider that line by Dogen that says "to study the self is to lose or forget the self. And to lose or forget the self is to become awakened by, or intimate with, the 10,000 things." The 10,000 things is Zen short-hand for all things, all phenomena. Nothing is left out.

How can we be intimate with 10,000 things? Among its definitions, intimacy" is a state of "complete intermixture, fusion, thoroughly interconnected, interrelated, interwoven" and of having "depth of detailed knowledge and understanding and broadness of information from, or as if from, long association, near contact, or thorough study
and observation." One teacher says that to forget the wall we place between ourselves and life is to see our complete interbeing with all things, and this direct seeing can only happen through the constant inquiry into all that arises -- all "10,000 things" -- and not walling off those aspects of our life we do not prefer.

I'm also reminded of a simple teaching my elderly Swiss friend passed along to me. She said when mediating in the garden, for example, invite the garden to come to you.  How sweet is that? Do you think it's possible to invite the red-tail, and cedar bark, and the effortless cloud to come to us? What would it mean? Would we grok it when it arrived?  And can we also invite the bereft and furious client or the child who angrily throws a toy at our face, to "come closer, I want to know you."

Loving you, a glowing sunbeam in the 10,000 things,