Proxy. And we call ourselves a Democracy.
“It is the belief and not the god that counts.” — — Wallace Stevens
in Zen, prostrations are done only with the legs so there is a moment when my weight hangs like a fat peach on the verge of falling from a limb: I am heavy so it is difficult to move back to standing. It is not OK to push up with arms like they do in Tibet.
My teacher says — “big space big weight (referring to how I should center my gravity down on my legs, and drop straight forward from a squat)
make space small little weight”
BIG WEIGHT Big Enlightenment — I think & grow karma as I think this in my mind, the mind that is supposed to be quiet. “Only Don’t Know” — My teacher says.
Sometimes I don’t have the journal topic sussed out until morning run.
We are reading Twain now — Huck Finn. I delight in Twain’s cautionary note — telling the students we may all be shot for attempting to find a moral in the story.
When I meditate there are still things that I want to label — “The Trauma” — when thoughts of them arise. Today fortunately there was a tiny black roundish bug on the wall & my proxy became — ‘bug’. The bug had my full attention and the bug was just bug, I say ‘just’, but I don’t believe myself. Nothing is ever just ‘just’. It was tiny with a rounded back: pitch dark and smooth — the reflection of the kitchen lightbulb could be seen on one side as it seemed to be crawling down towards the gasline below. I say full attention, but I don’t believe myself. Even in this moment there are other ‘bugs’ — agitations.
Sometimes I have the journal topic written down — but change it just as class begins: something magnetic catchest me and whirrs my metal towards it. It’s a difficult world — to live this way. But, anything else would be a lie: like a venn diagram of two almost divided eggs — looking in two different directions at once.
My assignments are vague. Keep a journal for all of October — See what happens. I’m not blinking at all. My attention doesn’t wane. The bug has moved.
I wonder about everything as two students come to see me after school. What is supposed to happen usually doesn’t. We covered Whitman in the first week. By now Critical Thinking should be replaced by nuance — not coke or pepsi, but an arc like that of the bug’s back; the light bulb still reflected there — it is tiny, but now I can see how light is deep. How if I move my head a little, the light itself arcs and spins across the back of the bug — forming a star that appears not to even touch the back of the bug at all — but my vision matters little or not at all to the amount of absorption of the light that reaches inside of the bug.
I thought myself utterly cold — -at the periphery of this cosmology: which may be how it should be.
When I finish the presentation to the parents — they universally agree — -”Your way of doing things is best”: they say so more or less. They are talking about essays. But, what I can’t explain is: I’m not talking about rhetoric — that I don’t know where it is going. Once we have chosen, there is a type of hostility towards other options — of course I mean ‘fixed views’ — but I am talking about the practice. It is nature. Survival instinct. For the good of the clan.
I grow ever more curious about older workers in convenience stores. They are always there in my neighborhood and I cannot deny a certain care for their vigilance. The younger workers I am less interested in — they have time. Of course we all have time. But, as we get older — we live our lives with a certain type of heaviness. There is a very limited amount of value placed in the work of a convenience store worker — by definition we want them to be invisible — too much of their presence would be in fact “inconvenient” — and work against the entire premise of the institution. One might view the entirety of life as an inconvenience without which: what have we: &are we to have at all? The cosmos — — Does it have need of me?
After awhile I find the light reflected off of the back of the bug harsh to my eyes.
I find sometimes I spend a great deal of time justifying — I teach literature — So this is an old story of old stories. What need have we of this? What need — once again — of me?
I’ve rarely had the experience of feeling important. I have this to thank for the ease with which I found happiness. I was profoundly happy when i was 7 years old, throwing a tennis ball against the wall of a United Church of Christ. The bricks were pale orange. And I’ve been profoundly happy many times since then. My only failing has been the times when I was under the impression that there was something I had to be other than what I was — — I became a brother at age 10 and was happy at it. My main preoccupation was inventing games that my sister was not only capable of playing, but excelled at and enjoyed. This was of course of little importance to the nation then — but ultimately, who knows of what importance, ultimately, right now.
I teach at the edge of the woods. partway up a kind of foothill. Lately there are many spider webs. The spiders are large and look menacing with yellow markings on their backs — so if I walk though a web I quickly dance the web away from my body to try to locate the spider. I say a silent blessing when no spider is found. What am I to bless? Myself — ? The Spider — ? The prey — ?
I don’t justify anymore. I shrug my shoulders — I leave a void — I’ve filled all of the voids in my own life. Of course — there is resistance — : This I equate with care, and care fills a void in me — the care of my students. I take that attention — -“ Let’s see what’s going on with Huck?” There is a Hush! Attention is as attention does. — The ball comes back to me, just as the students do after class — “What are we supposed to write about?” — — What do you care about? — — “What?” — When you read the book?-yeah?- What do you find yourself caring about? “Well, Jim — — — — ?” yeah? “And Huck ?” Okay So what is the relationship between Jim and Huck? Try writing about that ? “Okay”