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Message from Henry: The Numinous Ordinary

In awakening Zen style, it seems there must be some sense of being plugged into the main electricity supply. Suddenly there’s a much larger reality, of immense power and scope, that puts all our life up till now in a thoroughly different perceptive, such that its scale becomes diminutive.

But then again, at the same time that it puts our “known” life in a different light, and diminishes its sway over us: it also invests any ordinary thing with a numinous power and importance. Such that a cup, a leaf, a rut in a track, can seem as if they contained – or even were – the entire world. “To see a world in a grain of sand,” as Blake said. 

And what’s the benefit, afterwards, beyond it, of an experience like this? It fulfills the soul. The soul is left in a state of peace, and silence, brimming over with love. Its true love of life and existence is now free to flow, and that love brings great peace. As if the soul’s one real purpose is to love.

But then again, I speak as someone who had a deficit of simple human love in early years. I may be an unreliable reporter. Maybe the settling in love is merely what I experience, rather than a general principle. What use is a sample size of one, after all? 

And what’s this “soul” you’re talking about, Henry? What kind of blather is that? There’s no soul. That’s the whole blessed point! Get clear, man!

Oh well….

But then again, there are records through the ages of others who fell into the same vastness/nothingness, the same totality not of outward or inward origin, who name love as a critical ingredient.

Enter Zen, with its annals of those who underwent this kind of experience, and learned to dig it back into the earth of their ordinary days. And learned to live on the “brink of life and death.” And knew each moment was a totality, so they never need look for anything else. And then forgot all about it.

Message from Henry is from our November 15 2021 Newsletter
Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash
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