The Hands Of Self

October 07, 2010 | | Comments 0


     This is one of those mornings when I stare into blankness and  wonder what  to say  about it. The pauses are protracted, punctuated by an occasional still – born thought that doesn’t gain  traction. I sit quietly receptive, willing to wait. Mind reminds me of the kind of willingness of which Lao Tzu spoke: “ The way to do is to be.”  People young and old sit reading around the cafe; some are buried in newspapers, some in books, some in thought and some in day – dreams. And so we all sit lounging, immersed in our own personal selfness and unaware of our only real residence in “ Gods’ Living room” as Shri Ramakhrisna put it. 

Now I’m wondering about this wrestling dance with words I call “writing” and why I bother tap, tap, tapping away. This time it’s not about the usefulness of words as a descriptive, evocative and functional medium, but about how they also trap us with their interpretation of reality. I hear an elder voice behind me assuring  a younger voice that, indeed, “Stalin made a peace pact with Japan in September of 1937 so he could then go to war  with colonial England and France, but “…

Now I scramble for a note I had in my backpack –yes, here it is! It’s  from Chang Tzu, who says:

The purpose of words is to convey ideas.

When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.

Where can I find a man who has forgotten words?

He is the one I would like to talk to!

Something rests in reflection now. Confusion falls away and all the Babel is lovingly embraced. The hustle and flow of life as it is, with and without our ideas about it, gently waves over and through this sensibility called  “me”  I turn now to a poem I cut out of a British newspaper. It’s called “ The Hands of Others “ by James Stockinger. It’s  from “World Leaders’ Favorite Poems” and  I will select only a few lines here:

…each  of us lives in and through an immense movement of the hands of other people..

It is in and through the hands of other people

that the commonwealth of nature is appropriated

and accommodated to the needs and pleasures

of our separate, individual lives, and,

at the end,

it is the hands of other people that lower us into the earth.

We can all agree to the facts of this beautiful observation of how the human dynamic works in a world like the one I seem to be sitting in this morning. After all, we’re  all daily touched (not to mention aided and abetted ) by the hands, voices, thoughts, sight, smells, sizes, shapes and colors of our international community of others. And?

And… is there something more going on here? Something that is a  “fact” AND also, true?

Behind and within human nature is an inspiriting thisness that, like the fingers in a glove, like that which energizes our body, is what we may call, as Descartes did, the “prime mover.” A.K.A. God, Budda, Tao, Awareness, Brahmin. In words, we can speak of it as  the non-sense, the non-being, the non-self, the non-conditioned, the non-born, the non-dying.

Francisco  Varela calls it something else:

“ A selfless Self: a coherent global pattern that emerges from the activity of simple local components { “me and others”} which seem to be centrally located  but are nowhere to actually be found.”

Call it what you like, there’s  this underlying, over- arching principle that is, ultimately, who and what we are. This selfless Self may never make sense to the body/mind, it may defy all scientific description and measurement,  it may not in anyones’ mind, qualify as “fact”. And yet?

And yet it is, ultimately, all that is true; all that is real. Strip away all thought – about – thought, all identity in body/mind, and what remains is this non-personal self-less  Love. Not the mind/heart freighted word “love”, but Love.

Love is in love with itself; it knows no “others”, only itself. While our human experience divides, the Love we are  unites; while “ the hands of others” serve us, and we in turn, serve those same, separate “others” in our manifestly human condition, the hands of a far greater unmanifest wholeself , serve selflessly. There is, in truth, no separation. There can be no “other” in this Oneness.

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