A fuse has blown, there is only silence.
Today’s message is an excerpt from Henry’s memoir, One Blade of Grass, describing an aspect of his path of training. Read Marvelous and Ordinary and The Fertile Void to put this week’s piece in context.
I had been like a best stuck inside a haystack, pushing and thrashing, not knowing if it was getting anywhere. my teachers cajoled me, but not even they could tell me the way out. Eventually I burst out of the far side, into daylight, or moonlight, or something in between, in such a way that I could never go back under the hay.
But what had I really been doing during all these years of practice? Through the simplicity of being still and quiet, something had been growing. Every now and then it showed itself, then withdrew again. A beast, sure enough, burgeoning within, the ox of Zen’s famous Oxherding Pictures. Finally it sloughed off the sleeve of self and world. In the weak daylight of England the true ox arrived, and it wasn’t going away.
I wrote to John (note: Henry’s teacher John Gaynor):
The world has turned back to front, inside out, upside down. Things I had thought bad are not bad, and things I’d thought good aren’t good either. I realized I have never know people I’ve know for years.
I long to sit long hours while the thing that has been born grows stronger. I am fully awake yet don’t know who I am. A fuse has blown, there is only silence.
I feel so grateful to my parents… to Clare and the boys… to you … A long childhood has finally ended, and new one has begun….
Thank you, thank you.