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(if you should learn to do this will your toys of knowing, you will achieve a form of liberty more valuable than any other skill)

something silver, shining, turning...

This event took place outside a bookstore in San Francsico on a summer day. ‘k‘ was with me and had gone into the bookstore. In recent weeks I’d been deeply involved in my Zen practice in such a way that my essential curiosity was active and playful. Something sort of just flipped on for a moment, outside the store, as she went in. I did not desire the barrage of information, advertising and design that awaited me inside.

As I was standing in the entryway, I experienced the briefest flash in which everything folded inward toward a shining object, almost liquid, and very silver. It was turning, and this was incredibly magically important. I felt myself say inwardly: something silver, shining, turning. These were not ‘mere words’ but carried a seed of the poetic and emotional and intellectual experience with(in) them.

As quickly as it arose, it was gone. Perhaps a day or two later, I spoke in dokusan of this matter with my Zen teacher, J.B., who was only vaguely interested in my report. He said he sensed that there was ‘something to it’ — but that this something was very incomplete. I felt it was important, but puzzling and tiny and nonsensical — except from a poetic perspective.

I didn’t really make any sort of decision about it at all, but the memory maintained itself with a strongly positive (but gentle) emotional charge for a long time, of which I can still feel the small echo even now, some 8 years later.


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