Conduct and observance

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


When continental plates collide, two things happen.

One is subduction. One plate is sucked under the other, drawing its bedrock down into the mantle of the planet, where it slowly melts, sinks downward, and circulates in a movement that takes sixty to a hundred million years or more to complete, before it rises again as a plume of magma in a distant location thousands of miles away.

The other is uplift. The top plate, whatever it is composed of, rises. This is how fossil seashells ended up at the top of Mount Everest. That massive scarp in today's picture is now in the middle of the Arizona desert. It, too, was once seabed.

The collision of great forces, which takes place everywhere in the universe, invariably produces naturally opposing results of this kind. Some things go up; others go down. In fact, something has to sink in order for something else to rise. Everything is composed of circulation. Something must go down, soften, and melt in order for the other part to solidify and be lifted.

In our spiritual quest, we are all interested in uplift. We want to rise, to discover new inner heights and see the view from above. Who is there in the world of spiritual work who isn't reaching for heaven? (With all due respect for their-- to me-- very questionable choice, we'll leave the Satanists out of this discussion. Sorry, guys.)

In reaching for heaven, we may forget that things have to go down as well as up. We forget gravity.

This Saturday I met with a good friend of mine- a real essence-friend who I don't see too often, probably because he lives less than a mile from me and we take each other for granted, as is too often the case in such circumstances. We work on the same kind of things in our work and we speak the same language in so many ways it seems uncanny to me at times.

This man happens to be an adept Hatha yoga teacher, although his real work lies in realms beyond such a facile definition. He understands the body. That is much bigger than the kind of Yoga you learn in a classroom. Because of this he has an authority I listen to.

He was speaking this weekend of having a new relationship with gravity. Becoming aware of it as a force. He wasn't speaking of doing this intellectually; it was about the sensation of gravity, the organic awareness of gravity. In becoming more attuned to this force, he believes, we can approach the idea of uplift (he doesn't use that term, but it's entirely appropriate.) That is, by sensing what our relationship is to down, we begin to discover our real place. That happens through the organism, and in no other way.

It's only then that we can begin to consider what up might mean.

Plates within what we call "Being" collide; what we call consciousness is the intersection between the dog and the Buddha, between man's lower and higher natures. Human nature is formed in the ground where these two points meet. Human nature, the nature of Being, is a pivotal point where choices are made and directions determined.

Man needs subduction in him, as well as uplift; the forces are reciprocal. He must go down as well as up; dive into the roots of his cells as well as the lofty realms that feed him from above.

In fact, I think, it is better for men as we are to work to assist the subduction, the gradual melting of this massive crust of what we are, and to leave the uplift to other parts--

The ones that know more about how to find the sun than we, in these little minds, do.

Trees and fruit are not trees and fruit, they are trees and fruit. Wells and water are not wells and water, they are wells and water.

So, may your trees bear fruit and your wells yield water.

--Until tomorrow!


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