Walking the Highwire

short moments, short thoughts

Snapped at San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore

WALKING THE HIGHWIRE, with Hsin Hsin Ming

I often think about something that seems ridiculous: how can we learn to not only better cope with life, but be less afraid of dying. Stuff like that. It’s ridiculous because who thinks about these things?

I do. So I’m forever in search of ways to get a point or two across — primarily that there’s got to be easier ways to solve these persistent human questions. I think one way is by telling stories.

Let’s take an acrobat as an example…


She who walks a tightrope wire is both strong and relaxed at the same time. With strength she is able to stay balanced in an impossible position. Yet by relaxing, she is sensitive to the most subtle of changes to her balance.

I see this little visualization as a way to help interpret the following short quote by an old teacher. He talks about finding that balance point, be it between left and right or life and death. The slightest miscue sends the acrobat plummeting to the ground. And so it is, he says, with everyday life, and with how we position our mind.

“When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the slightest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.”
 — -Hsin Hsin Ming