Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The "Sparkling Wonder"

On warm Spring and Summer nights when I was a boy, I used to love to lay back on the lawn and look up at the stars. Before I started attending school, the sparkling wonder spread out before me like the twinkling lights that used to appear before my eyes while drifting off to sleep.

When I was a bit older and in school, I still loved the night sky, but now it was counting shooting stars, and knowing what they really were. Thinking about the "race for space " and all that went with that. The "sparkling wonder " started to become "possessed " by the mind. This is the problem with the mind; this tendency, demand really, to "possess ".

The more powerful the mind, the more need there seems for this desire to possess. This is what makesunlearning, so important to "spiritual progress ", so difficult. When the mind sees the night sky, instead of leaving it at "beauty ", or "profound ", which are already mental constructs, it goes on to, "dark ", "brilliant ", or what ever mind "modifications " can be applied to "capture " this "thing ". The mind constructs "galaxies ", "nebula " (one of my particular favorites!), "black holes " (another pretty cool one!), and so on, until the "sparkling wonder " is fit smoothly into "knowledge ". (sorry to keep using the "sparkling wonder" analogy, as I realize it too, is a mental construct, but try to see it as a child would; Awe, without the word, awe.)

With knowledge we take possession of thoughts, and sets of thoughts that we gain from others, or from experiences that we interpret using the thoughts of others. By the time we have left the "sparkling wonder " stage, we are so filled with, not only other's ideas, but other's ideas about who we are, that we have long forgotten the simple awe of the night sky. But oh, we "possess " the night sky now. We can tell you how it works. Kind of. We can tell you how it was created. Kind of. We have taken "Awe " and categorized the Heart, the Love, the "God " out of it.

We all find that unlearning is much harder than learning. We look up at the night sky, and we remember vaguely what it was like, that "sparkling wonder ". This faint "memory " is not really a memory at all, but a calling as if through a mist, of a still, small voice speaking the silence that was before "night ", "dark ", or "stars ". We must be carful not to construct an "actual memory " (how's that for an oxymoron?). Let's not create a "story " of how we saw the night sky as a child, but follow that call that beckons you home to realization of the ever present "sparkling wonder ".


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