Particles and Waves (written 2015)
First full day at the monastery. Beginning a couple of retreat days as prelude to Upasika training. I have been thinking I'm more here than I've ever been. It's a bit like yin, learning to surrender. In three minutes or five minutes you feel the body release, let go to gravity. In months, then years of practice this is more readily available. So with mindfulness. Years of practice and the surrender deepens.
Birken is like a candle to me. Like an invitation. Yet I absolutely feel something indescribably different this time, with this longed for opportunity opening. From the moment I left home, a spiraling inward, disappearing. For now anyway my stubborn mind gets it, what it is to release.
I went for a walk this morning. The trees here, like those at home, are barely budding, not the full green of Kamloops, of the valley. A chill wind shushing through the trees. Clouds on the move. Such solitude on the walk. My feet crunching sand and gravel. The swing of joints, strength of body, even the discomfort of the cold. Just sensation. Pleasant and unpleasant finding a sweet harmony, only differing voices in the moment's chorus.
Coming back I was pulled down to the marsh. Watching a goose, some ducks. The large goose nearly still, majestic. The ducks noisy and exuberant, dancing and flapping along the surface as if to take flight, though it was all for show. Near the goose, smaller birds. Five of them. I squinted into the light dancing on the water. Are these her goslings? Is this possible? Why don't I know the seasons and times of these things? It seems early to me, but I don't know. Big enough to venture away in circles, though they seemed tethered to her stillness. The wind pushed the water south in tiny waves or big ripples, depending on your perspective as duck in the water or human on the shore, I suppose. Then no warning and I suddenly felt pinned down while also adrift.
A thought came. In quantum theory the wave and particle conundrum. A wave collapsing into particle when it is observed. That's it exactly, the nature of this “I”. A wave of possibility and then pinned down into a particular, a particle, by being observed. Sometimes the observers are external. Our parents, our partners, society. What they see, judge, expect, believe. But sometimes the observer is internal. When we buy into those versions of a particular self, we embroider them...seem to give them dimension. We move in and get furniture and make them “real”. So I was thinking of this, and how to step out of it. How to return to the wave of possibility.
All of us, waves of possibility. Consciousness/awareness is just this. Waves. The being aware seeming to collapse this into individuals, into many. One, then many. No. One and many all at the same time, depending on your perspective. This is too difficult to set down in concepts. But on the shores of the marsh. Air/wind/breath, water/marsh/blood/tears, earth/grasses/bones, fire/sun/life/heat...it all seemed so completely graspable...even grasped. I am and I am not. The relative and the absolute. Formed and formless. No wonder the writing of Zen poets is so inscrutable.