23 February 2009


Words begin as the boundary between the conscious and the unconscious. When everything is flowing, there is no need for words: there is only the flow. Then, something happens to disrupt the flow. Suddenly words become useful. The door won't open; the hammerhead flies off; the water glass spills. Words first describe the situation, then perhaps become useful for correcting it. Unlock the door; get a new hammer; mop up the water. In that moment of dissolution, when the flow breaks, lies the place where we first become aware that there was a flow. Words won't get us back to that flow. They act as a substitute, but so long as the words remain, there can be no flow... There's a zen koan: "Where is the one who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to speak to."

There's more... but I'm not finding a way to put it into words. It's as if words themselves are a switch between the flowing and the distinct, a red susurrus veil of electrified silk that divides words and experience. I think there's something important to be learned from that divide, but I'm not yet sure what it is... Perhaps the place where one can live with mindfulness is directly on the divide. Or perhaps I'm grasping at nothing.

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