Sunday August 30th 2009, 9:13 to 9:40 am,
in the garden at 12 Mehetabel Road
in the garden at 12 Mehetabel Road
I am sitting on a wooden folding chair at the end of the garden looking back at the house. It is a sunny morning with a cool breeze blowing. I am slightly hungover.
In my notebook I write:
“another lovely morning – sunny, cool breeze, oyster shell clouds. A bit stale. Half inclined to go home now.
When the Buddha attained enlightenment, everything (one) became enlightened.
The Buddha is not out there
I am / have the Buddha.
Hence if I see him, he is a delusion.”
I am looking at the blue plastic washing line tied to the white painted brickwork on the back of the house.
Thoughts come and go. I keep returning my attention to the blue plastic line on the wall. At some point, I think towards the end of sitting, I disappear. Image – a perfect mirror and I and everyone are flecks of dust lying on or just above the mirror. It seems as if I have fallen out of my fleck of dust. I see I am just pure awareness, always have been. That out of this awareness the fleck of dust arose, could not help it, when the mirror became me, whenever that was. This all happens at once. A complete understanding – intellectual, emotional, physical. It is so simple. So everyday. The blue plastic line is still there. The sun is still shining. But I, the fleck of dust above me, is transformed, the water of life seems to pour through all of me, every aspect of my self, my past, transformed, aligned in one direction. I am not forgiven, there is nothing to forgive, nothing to judge, awareness trapped in me had no way other than to become me, to struggle in the delusion and agony, unable to see itself, the I AM. I see this is the kingdom, within me and among us, each of us trapped more or less in our little fleck but in reality, all one. Yet there is still I here, just free of all the trappings of I. Seeing the fleck and all other flecks with perfect understanding and compassion, only wanting everyone to come down here. And the whole world is brilliant, sparkling, full of love and energy.
On the bus to St Marks I want to weep, and keep laughing at the wonderful shops – a shop with a stuffed ostrich and what looks like a capuchin monkey, a shop called ‘Lie down I must tell you I love you’, an extraordinary cinema like an Egyptian temple which I have never noticed before but must have passed many times. Wanting to rush out and tell everyone it’s true, the kingdom is at hand, right here and now, and they weren’t making it up (Jesus and Buddha and Eckhart and Teresa and everyone else).
At the same time, mind rushes back. I’m so lucky, special, clever – I wonder how many others have experienced this – it is just like the tempter in the desert, almost beguiling, and I know I can never stop meditating, that it would so easy to try and take possession of this, turn it in to an idol, hug it to myself. And I’m suspicious of the urge to get up and tell everyone about this – and fearful – I want them to understand, to believe me, not to think I’m bonkers or arrogant, and I don’t feel worthy or able to do that. But I’m filled with this overwhelming love and joy and peace, and everyone I look at seems to be alight, and there isn’t somehow any necessity to tell them – they are already filled with love. And it is love, somehow agape and eros combined.
Even as I am writing this, I can barely recall the experience. The mirror or kingdom has an impersonal quality – it is not me but it is not not me. I may never have such an experience again, but I know it is real, and as I meditate, as I remain mindful, walking the dog, whatever, it is there even though I am not aware of it. The parable of the wise virgins is so important – always to have the lamp filled, the wick trimmed, waiting without grasping for the moment when one falls through the crack into all truth.
In my beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and Word was God. And light came into the world, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. In all our beginnings is the Word and it is with us for ever.
In the evening my step daughter, Laura and her husband Toby tell us they are having a baby. This morning I wrote this:
every conception an Annunciation
every mother a Virgin
every child the Word made flesh
every life a crucifixion and a resurrection
in each one of us the Cosmos created anew
At the moment (however long it lasted, I think no time at all) I fell in to the Kingdom, and I was flooded with the water of life (all the images are true, I felt like a dry desert filled with fresh rains) I wanted to rush off and read all the scriptures, the psalms, the gospels, everything to see the truth that was written in them (and perhaps the falseness too).
All through the retreat, just sitting in the Zendo with my eyes open, they felt dry and gritty. Now they are filled with tears and are refreshed. And so appropriate that it is a Sunday morning, in a garden like the one where Mary found the empty tomb.
Still a question remains. Should I not have got up and shouted at everyone in St Marks, that I have been in the Kingdom and it is here with us all and it’s all true, and that Mother Julian had it exactly right only I would change the tense – all things are well and all manner of things are well and there is no sin in the world, only delusion and ignorance. Let those who have ears hear, let those who have eyes see.