Across Oceans and Centuries

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    Martin LeFevre,


    On a gray and chilly afternoon without a car, I have to give myself a nudge to get out on the bike into the country for a sitting. But the dreary day is instantly forgotten when a hovering hawk—a kite—greets me as I walk down the dirt path to the creek from the paved bike lane.

    I stand and watch the kite flutter in mid-air just across the creek. As I start walking again it flies out over the fields a bit further, and then slowly plummets to the ground, in its characteristic arc of pure grace.

    I scare up a pair of mallards, who voice their displeasure at being dislodged from their afternoon leisure. Later, following the line of the stream, they fly overhead, still squawking.

    Immediately upon taking my seat I feel the deep wonder and solitude of the place. Featureless gray skies, with clear views for miles over the fields and foothills, add to the atmosphere of aloneness and all oneness. The rushing, gray-green creek flows by at my feet.

    The almond blossoms are at their peak in California’s northern Central Valley. They are amongst the first flowers of spring, and in just the last few days, many other plants and trees are sending forth their earliest shoots of the season.

    The land is about to explode with new life. The earth, slowly and gently, but inexorably, grips my heart until the mind is essentially quiet.

    To commune with the nameless, one must regularly enter the house of death. When the mind-as-thought is essentially still, the heart comes into direct contact with death.  It is the ever-present ground all around us, from which life arises and to which it falls. Fearlessly contacting the actuality of death, the breath of creation fills one’s being.

    Death is truly nothing to fear. Then why do we fear it so?

    Because death is the end of everything we know, and the continuity of what we know is more important to us than experiencing the unknown.

    One of the questions I’ve grappled with most is whether the nameless, which one directly experiences to some degree on nearly a daily basis, has any relationship to humankind and the world.

    For hard-core atheists and cynics it’s easy. There’s nothing beyond the mind of man; the universe is just a cold, dark, empty place that gave rise to human consciousness by chance, as some kind of fluke.

    There is no a priori relationship between the creative intelligence of the universe and humans. The nameless has no relationship to humankind unless the human being has relationship to it, and is a fount through which it can flow.

    Has any culture in history ever lived in harmony with the nameless? Perhaps a few indigenous cultures have, but not the cultures that arose since the Agricultural Revolution, with the possible exception of India for a few hundred years after the Buddha.

    Now however, insight can and must flow into the global culture through the awakened and awakening human being. Though content-consciousness continues to grow exponentially, suffocating the earth and the human spirit, we’re clearly nearing the end of its viability. Now our humanity depends on our transmutation.

    In a state of complete openness, indeed feeling the completion that comes with awareness of death without fear, the first two people I pass are an old Indian couple. The woman is wearing a sari, the man has a long gray beard.

    As I pass by on the bike, one feels a keen sense of mutual presence with the two elderly transplants from an ancient land.  Even before I smile, the woman waves as if to an old friend. And the man’s eyes look as wide as mine feel. We say hello from across oceans and centuries.



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