TWENTY ONE

I wrote to the Zen Master and told him about Tae, that I couldn’t live anymore as it was. I was abandoning my life. I’d never heard this teaching before. I wondered how he would react. He responded with a kongan, as he will do. Basically he wanted to know if it had helped me. I told him it was the only way I could survive this world.

 

After abandoning my life, I couldn’t imagine seeing Tae again. I was sure we’d be embedded in amber or the black, slower than life, a word would take too long, not even a single word. Neither of us would blink. She would be upset. There would be crying, my soul would be lost, again, maybe for good – the last moment of sunshine before the sky fell, the darkness so complete, so final… I trained constantly to live without a soul, to be only a space for the One to know the world. I would learn to live again as a Zen monk. I would disappear from the world.

 

She would be happy to see me. She would laugh. 1000 other things. She was a good person. She always tried to work things out, thought ahead to make things easier. Her Japanese manners, her hard life in Mexico, her 10 years of marriage, she was always on the team. It was the first time I’d been around someone like that. Everyone else only wanted to destroy what I was doing, while I was doing it, all negative pressure. I’d just stopped interacting with people on that level. Tae had a bite to her, but it was always directed somewhere else, not against the work. She wasn’t a romantic, not interested, but still a woman. I could tell the way she reacted to things. We paired up every time we went anywhere. She always found me, stood close to me. I wish I could replay some of those scenes, as subliminal as they were. It felt like I was in another dimension, watching her interact with the world.

 

A slow death, everything flowing back to the source. When all was exhausted maybe I would live in peace. Though the great peace of the One Mind filled my days, I was often sad. Above all I wanted to know Tae’s mind, how she’d reacted to the letter. It would be another month before the first possible contact, when she’d be back at Musangsa. Time had frozen, locked-tight to the last communication we’d had. We were gone from the world, gone from each other. I was concerned she would fade into black, like Sangmi, like everyone.

 

The rains of summer, the monsoon, had everyone strange. I couldn’t lay down without the stalker hovering nearby, so I stood the rain, a leaky umbrella in the forest, cold, hardly moving.

 

Day 25 down…

 

…to the point where I’d be able to establish contact with Tae. She dominated my morning, but the One, the flames burned through. The stalker figured out that I’d changed routines to avoid him, so he changed his. Now he followed me to the shower room first, before the bathroom. I changed again. I would have to be more erratic, or just deal with him trying to trap me somewhere so he could force contact. This too, the One ignited. It wasn’t easy to live in that environment. I was constantly being challenged. Everyone was stressed, for their own reasons. I wanted to give control to the One, but it wasn’t like that. Like any relationship, we were connected through the course of events, bonding. All the things that happened between me and Tae – on the surface not anything extraordinary, we were just surviving a difficult situation together, helping each other – the process was the same. We grew together. The problem was I fell in love. It couldn’t be. To survive the love anguish I turned to the One. Naturally I began to function the same way, giving myself to it, sharing all the moments of my life, but I could only give them away. It needed my experiences to form my Dharma. All of my experiences, past, current, future, were the depth and degree of its power, its articulation through me. Otherwise it had no particular quality. My suffering was the thing that found the color, found the word.

 


An ancient master said, “Even if the entire universe were destroyed, it wouldn’t change a single thing.”