Archives 88 – Boot Camp of Collapsing Forms

by Jan ShoemakerShoemaker#1_thebookWeb

It’s hard to keep your foothold in a world where structures are constantly collapsing, where boundaries erode and old forms fall away—from cells to civilizations. Fomenting inside each log and lung and empire is an Arab Spring and it all gets very personal in my mirror these days.

Emerson’s Infinite revealed itself to him all over the place and most of all in movement—in the exertion of integers, the unfurling of sentences, the orbiting of planets. Perhaps that God he intuited abides in motion, and truth glimmers most tellingly in transformation. “The more it moves, the more it yields,” Lao Tzu said of the Tao, the infinite ordering principle that two millennia of Chinese people felt pulsing through all things. That we need to withdraw into stillness from time to time is understandable—it’s exhausting, the commotion; we can’t even take a shower without shedding and having to replace several thousand skin cells whose briefly-dead particles will soon enough be quickening in some fresh form.

But maybe the act of retreating—so often construed as sacred in its own right—is really a turning down the volume on the Infinite and the ruckus it kicks up in its perpetual act of becoming. The irony may be that, only in stillness are our minds able to attenuate to the tumult or, more to the point, translate what we’re hearing. To align our minds with changing forms, to be as fluid consciously as we are molecularly, while still being able to cook dinner, is the challenge every good Buddhist undertakes and it requires a surrender of that hard stone, beneath the peachy flesh, we call self. Buy the current issue to read the entire narrative.

artwork ©Ionut Caras

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