Musical Metaphors (written 2014)
This retreat at Providence is familiar, comfortable. The rabbits are about and I had a lovely gazing session with one tolerant fellow who seemed to sense my admiration. They've barely any white showing yet. Will it be a late arriving winter? Walking the labyrinth and letting the body loosen after a two hour sit. Feeling amazed and blessed at the inner stillness.
In the private interview we talked a little about the arising of insight from stillness. Trusting my own inner teacher.
Is this an insight? Big smile here. Reconciling “reincarnation” and the idea of no-self has been complicated and problematic for me. Prone to my habit of over-thinking, analysis. I've heard Ajahn Sona's explanation of the falling dice or a candle lit from another candle and I understand the causality link implied life to life as it is moment to moment in this (one) life. But suddenly today, holding the idea of my own insubstantiality, how little I feel connected to previous “me's”( babe, toddler, teen, 20's...beyond) and , at the same time, my deep sense of connection in this life to some few others (like my sister) despite so many changes, I felt, suddenly, the unconscious pulling out what is significant to come to a new understanding. Well, violin tunes have been playing a pretty constant background to any conscious thoughts since a week ago's gig! Another smile. So spontaneously, a metaphor emerges.
It is like a pause, a rest, in music, I'm thinking. Within the same piece of music there may be rests, pauses, changes of tempo and theme. Yet despite these, the whole is identified, externally, as one piece. Conversely, at a concert, an orchestra/artist may play many distinct (separate) pieces and we all agree to their separateness despite how brief the pauses between them may be. In fact, an artist may move directly into one piece from another, using only a transitional chord, yet we claim they are separate. So from this life to the next physical rebirth is a fuller pause/rest, yet the melody, the tune, the theme continues. And within a single lifetime there may be pauses where the theme changes quite dramatically. The metaphor satisfies me intellectually. I'd thought I'd already let go of self as a box and that I also accepted rebirth but some piece fell into place here, completely dissolving doubt today. Of course I've quoted Alan Watts often enough...selves are tunes, not boxes. But I had not expanded it before, considering movement in music, nor the role of rests.
Where'd this come from today and what does it mean, if anything? Just a sense of ease that seems to be the theme of a day that started a bit bumpy. Yet I am very still today. Very settled. The tune that is me running along in a gentle melody. Thank you, universe.