Continuity & Change: The Zen Priest Revisits Himself From Ten Years Before

Continuity & Change: The Zen Priest Revisits Himself From Ten Years Before May 23, 2021




I’m working on a fairly large writing project. I hope, although I cannot say it will be a new book.

It’s pretty intimate in parts, and because of that I wanted to be sure I wasn’t simply reworking an earlier book, If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break. The subtitle is “field notes from a Zen life,” and I usually refer to it as my sort of memoir. I’ve jut re-read it, fast, I admit, but all of it.

I’m relieved while it touches some of what I’m working on right now, this project and that book are sufficiently different that I don’t need to worry about it being simply the old book redux.

My reading also triggered a variety of thoughts.

One is about continuity and change. I no longer suffer under the delusion there is some magic part of me apart from the mess of life, untouched by causes and conditions, and not subject to change. At the same time there is a thread of self awareness that calls itself James. The me of things is in flux, but it takes shape within a context bounded by my personal birth and my eventual death. I am, as you are, rather like a poem. Maybe more than a haiku, one might hope. Maybe a bit more like a sonnet. That could be nice. Whatever, with birth, a structure is in place, a pattern. The universe seems to like patterns. Haiku. Sonnet. Whatever. Within that pattern something emerges, actually it feels like it erupts, and with that here “I” am.

I wrote If You’re Lucky right around ten years ago. It was published nine years past. It was interesting to get a peek at the mind of that James from then.

I’ve also come to discover time and space are themselves a bit of a projection of human minds. Part of that privileging of pattern. In some ways the end anticipates the beginning, and the play within the middle is simple a point in a cosmos where every point is the center of things.

When one meditates a lot, such noticing happens.

Another thought was how much I continue to agree with the me who wrote If You’re Lucky. Not entirely. But, there are more than resonances.

The thread, what I think of, inspired by the old Zen line, as the vermillion ribbon, is temporary, and subject to twists and turns, but it is also real.

Real being a dream. But, that’s okay. It’s all dreams. All the way down…

Continuity and change…

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