Late Night Post-Stoney Blather

Parties with Buddhists never fail to be interesting. If one assumption is that we attend parties to celebrate – to imbibe or to atleast temporarily exchange our own patterns of thought for a broader social context – then picture a crew of mostly middle-aged caucasions, sipping wine and smoking pot on the east side of BigCity, NC. Imagine further that the majority of these people are devoted to studies of emptiness and the cyclical nature of suffering in the relative world as we know it. The partying, then, is essentially mocking the notion that some pervasive undersatnding of reality actually exists. We alter what we already know we are altering all the time. It is all a joyful irony – from my perspective – and I party with my friends but also sit back and watch the irony unfold, content in my position yet again as a fly on the wall.

It is a double negative. Getting high to get away from “the real world,” when really everyone in the room believes “the real world” is only a manifestation of our misguided perceptions to begin with. The chairs we sit in are not even solid, tangible “things” as we know it. Stepping out on the porch, the sky viewed through the trees is no more stable and dependable as the very earth beneath our feet. When it comes down to it, if you try to dissect each particle of a moment, or the grain of wood in the chairs we sit in, there is no end to the dissection. Ultimately, you see that you are the maker in this perception of “the real world,” or “things as they are,” and when you break it down and see there is nothing there – “you” disappear too.

Still unclear? If you are the maker, and through a process of dissecting and rationalizing you determine that no-thing is really there, then your concept of who you are gets dissected as well. Hence out of body experiences. Or as I experience it personally, hence egolessness – the total lack of a sense of self. Imagine: There is no veil between you and the world. Each moment is experienced in and through the breath, appearing and dissolving in the same moment. When I hike, the mountain is at once solid beneath my feet and also a magically hollow creating in my mind. When I write, time and space are a created container within which I can create my art – yet ultimately what I am working towards is a lyrical moment that transcends the container itself.

Living life means continually learning and relearning the same lessons – that is the nature of suffering. But this process grows more and more beautiful the more we understand that its inner nature is emptiness, is beyond concept, is ultimately and utterly unknowable. We have to hold tight to things before we let them go. And once we let them go, we can see how all along we were already ready to live our lives connected with an ultimate reality, rather than living our lives connected only to ourselves and the narrow paths of existence we create.

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