Sound, Vision and Silence

A true traveler's journey through suffering

I’m starting to look like the person I saw long ago.

I am feeling like my young self. Not that I feel young. But I am reconnecting with that in a tangible way. In general, people did not understand me. I began hiding around 18. It was too painful being in conflict all the time. Being constantly told to be someone else. So, I pretended to be someone else. People would think I was cool, want to hang out, then get a glimpse of my reality and not be able to handle it. My godmother told me it would be this way. She had a place for me. 

I could have gone to live in the desert and become a Dhamma teacher from the beginning. But I knew I could not. I couldn't explain it. There were very real dangers I was attempting to navigate. I have been returning more and more to the truth of myself. Dropping pretense and remembering what I tried to escape. I understand the labyrinths of deception. The difficulty in finding the path out of suffering. I offer no trite formulas for success. Only the truth of liberation. 

I don't expect people to understand or believe. It's not about me. Compassion is like the oceans of this planet. Deep and vast. Hot and cold. Clear and murky. Compassion is everything. Ego is simplistic, Dhamma is simple. It is just a name for the way things are.

I have seen things. Many things. Mostly it hasn’t seemed particularly useful. Not in this societal construct I find myself in. If you judge someone based solely on numbers in their bank account, which we do far more than people wish to admit, then you are missing a lot. 

Equating financial status with spiritual blessing has absolutely zero basis in fact. It’s just classism. That is all. It’s a value judgement. Those with more are better with no examination of how they got more. It’s quite ingrained in the mass consciousness. It is simply not objectively true. 

Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. At a certain point, judging good or bad becomes meaningless. It’s a relative view. Honestly observing what is actually happening is an entirely different thing. Observing without judgement does not mean that we do not have any understanding of what is happening, it means we have more. We are not engaging with simplistic dichotomies, we are taking in a more complete picture of reality and assessing people’s behavior relative to that.

In this way, compassion and justice become possible.

Truth requires a willingness to let go of a lot. Mostly people are not prepared to do this because their sense of identity is based on the condition. Realizing the condition is unreal means realizing the identity is unreal and honestly, this can be a terrifying experience. This is what the practice is for. When you become adept at experiencing things in a less extreme and reactive way, you become capable of handling your own transformation. Otherwise, it will just be too brutal. 

To see clearly requires a lot of gentleness and compassion. Not ideologically or even morally, it’s just the way it is. Without it, it’s simply impossible to get past the suffering.

Storm on the Horizon, 2004

I have had many visions. I have spent many decades observing. Keeping an open mind. Seeing what happened. I didn’t necessarily assume anything. Didn’t decide anything. Just noticed. 

It is up to us to do things differently. I know that’s a lot, but it is true. People want an external authority to tell them what to do. It sounds great. Someone has the answer and I do what they tell me and it will work out and if it doesn’t then I can blame them also. Many people actually call this freedom. I think this is marketing not actual meaning.

Everyone is justified, everyone is a victim.

The victim/oppressor dichotomy is very real, it is also a trap. The only way out is to see the condition of it and walk away. Do something different. Be something different. Any way you can. That’s it. That’s all we have. And as pathetic and hopeless as that may seem, it is actually monstrously powerful which is why it is so imperative to respect it. The humble path. It is the only way out of violence. And it is not simplistic.

I have seen that post pandemic will be a kind of suffering that is beyond what many have become accustomed to. As the condition becomes more and more unstable, the unreality of man made illusion becomes more difficult to ignore. People have not been taught how to deal with this because education has largely been convincing people of it’s realness and that success is dependent upon that belief.

It is exceedingly easy to get very lost, very quickly.

This “nothing is real” sensation can become a sickness and the cure that people look for is another illusion of certainty. Something is real, it’s just that determining what that is can be a challenge. 

I am not looking for praise or blame. I am not interested in being right, I am interested in being true. Now, truth is a loaded word. I hesitate to use it at all, and yet not to use it would be a lie. Truth is knowable, but it takes effort and you do have to find it for yourself. That is not to say that other people cannot help in that en-devour. We all have our own truth, it is our actual lived experience. 

There is no singular truth, there is just being true. And true is everything. It is the totality of existence. It’s the truth and the lie and being able to see it for what it is.

Antibody, 2013

So, this is my best attempt to say some things today. I will keep attempting to write down what I know, what I have seen and experienced and why I understand it the way that I do.

I have seen my future. Much of it has already happened so, I accept the likelihood that the rest will follow. It is easier for me that way than to pretend otherwise. If it doesn’t happen, then that is just as well. 

I have seen who I become and what I will do. I have seen that people will be in great suffering, but I have also seen that they will find their way out.

When all these roads and identities are sorted. When dreams and reality merge into one. When time stands still and silent without explanation. The condition remains, however, we are forever changed.