Monday, October 18, 2010

This Too Too Solid Flesh...

I'm off tomorrow, Tuesday, for a day-long get-together at the Los Angeles Cathedral. Sponsored by Marymount College, it's called "The Intentional Conversation," and I have been invited to join the panel as a guest. I'm sure I'll be posting my remarks on Persist: The Blog, and will let you have a link in a couple of days.

In the meantime... I have started to read Bodhipaksa's excellent reflections on impermanence in his new book, Living As a River (Sounds True.) I'll be writing more about this book when I have finished reading it, but I can already sense that it's one of those books that change the way I look at things. I'm currently in a chapter on the impermanence of the body, which I was reading earlier in the afternoon. Then, later, in the sauna, I sat noticing how the seemingly solid flesh turned more and more rapidly into liquid, seeping out through the pores of the body and becoming, clearly, "not-me" in the process. (Hamlet's wish come true! Remember? "Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt.") And then, shaving, couldn't help but pay attention to the way the facial hairs, so recently a part of "me," washed down the drain to become a part of... something else. I would otherwise have overlooked these powerful phenomena.

Apologies for the intimate details. Hope you're not squeamish. But it's simple things like these that reinforce the teaching: "this is not me, this is not mine, I am not this." What we think of as the self deconstructs and reconstructs continuously in these--and other--ways. It's salutary to watch it happening before your eyes.

Bodhipaksa writes of these profound things with simple elegance and clarity. I'm looking forward to getting back to him. By that time, I imagine I'll be a different me!

1 comment:

Richard said...

No need to apologise for the details Peter, and thank you for recommending the book!

It's time now for my own shave, and I will put what you just suggested into practise right now.