The Tight-Rope Walker

Nishit Gajjar
4 min readSep 12, 2019

“For him to whom emptiness is clear,

Everything becomes clear.

For him to whom emptiness is not clear,

Nothing becomes clear.

Whatever is dependently co-arisen

That is explained to be emptiness.

That, being a dependent designation,

Is itself the middle way.”

-Nagarjuna (The Great Indian Master).

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

Recently in my town known as Burbank, there was a new circus. I bought the tickets for $22 to check out all the gimmicks of the lion, the elephant, the gymnasts, the clowns, and all multidimensional beings. But I loved the act of the great tight-rope walker particularly. How charming and thoughtful he seemed while trying to balance the show! While observing his act, I realized my own internal wisdom collecting system. I sensed how I understand few things by following the process of reading, learning, seeing, and then forgetting. I forget the technique, and then only I act. I try to be extremely cautious as the inner machine mechanism might become the stalker to show-off its tactics. Oh! I am already getting besotted with the tight-rope walker. How surreal and mindful he seems to be!

Back in the days, the silencing of the mind was a good gimmick. I worked for years and tried to mimic the Buddha-Mind. I was indeed a personification of numb-nuts. I thought I finally unwinded the Buddha-Mind. But then the radio played a tune, and my mind showered hoots of derision. It started venting the emotional abuses on my mentor and all those beautiful, surreal blame games. You know that, don’t you? They said, don’t be a stooge. Why do you play this rotten game, year after year? I had no answer, as I was a jester. And then I came back to the present and saw the clown in the circus trying to gain the approval of the crowd. The colorful stage was alluring. The plays were stunning, and I will praise it, as after all, I paid $22 for the tickets!

Back in the days, my otherworldly mentors heard my plea. They thought it’s a good time for me to learn a lesson as it has been 11,000 years since I learned something new. They asked me to bring my beautiful guitar. They played the guitar and showed how a de-tune guitar sounds. They played it again by showing how an over tune guitar sounds. Do you understand? They asked me. I had no answer, as I was a jester. And then, I came back to the present and saw how the lion was a devout follower of the circus guide. After all, the lion depends upon the circus guide for its survival kit.

Back in the days, my guides sensed that I should be taught a tough lesson. They felt that I could only learn that in the presence of the great Tathagata. And thus they sent me to my master. At the annual summit of ‘Worlds Smooth-Mind Pointless Conference,’ I saw my master. I saw him dancing. I saw him laughing. I saw him silent and poised. He truly was a Tathagata Personified. The elegance of handling everyone’s mind was done subtly. He was neither present nor absent. How unreal? I saw he slept, and he woke up too. How unreal? I noticed he ran, and he slowed down and walked again. A genuinely remarkable balanced act! And then I came back to the present and saw how the circus guide was playing around all the animals and monitoring their moves!

Back in the days, my mentors saw how I tried everything. I tried to do, and then I tried to not-do. They liked it. I tried to speak, and then I tried to not-speak. They liked it. My friend asked me, why do I do what I do? Who am I to do all these acts in such a dual way? I thought he doesn’t understand the basics of the language he is speaking. But then I felt I am in the same boat and should not judge him. So I wore a smooth, happy mask, and replied, I am a puppet, an infant in front of the mentors. I am a kindergarten messenger. My friend was not impressed and thought I was numb-nuts. I agreed. I said, sometimes it does, sometimes it sees. He said, who is it that sometimes does and sometimes sees? I said, the Inner Gazer, sometimes it sees and sometimes it does. But the seeing doesn’t disappear while doing anything, and it is active in the background. My friend said it is all mumbo-jumbo of numb-nuts. I said, indeed it is. I agreed.

And then I came back to the present and saw the tight-rope walker walking in front of me. He was beautiful and was trying to balance the act. How surreal! How do you do that? I asked him. He said, Listen, you have mentors and masters, yet you seem to miss the point for the past 11,000 years. I said, I truly think so, but please explain! He said, Listen, this won’t be repeated. Here’s the secret. And then with his other-worldly voice, he sang:

“Oh, Inner Gazer! Sometimes it sees, sometimes it does.”

I said I know this song. I know it. He said, Oh Jester, please keep quiet. Listen, the other two lines, which are specifically for you. And he continued:

“Not doing might lead to lethargy

Too much doing might lead to anarchy!”

I was awestruck and thanked him for this critical lesson. And thus the play was over, and I left. While heading back home, my friend asked me what did I learn from the circus? I said:

“Not doing might lead to lethargy

Too much doing might lead to anarchy!”

He said, for this, you spent $22? How pathetic!

I smiled without a mask and said; I agree.



Nishit Gajjar

Creative Producer, Writer and Music Composer based in Los Angeles, California.