Picking up from one life to the next always seems as if the new starting point or beginning. As if a sojourn or journey taking along only memories of note. As I am found forever expanding and writing down what seems relevant to the next step. Always looking back first helping to make sense to old friends who have assembled. Looking to Chengdu and China for reasons that are yet unclear and seemingly elusive. But going there all the same. Revisiting places and re-occurring themes that may explain the way.
Living under the illusion life brings that may uncover the path and following relentlessly. Always returning to places I’ve been and seen before as they serve as rememberances that both take us back and spring forward… closing one chapter as we open another. With a desire to simply recapture the flow of our own narrative and acknowledge our highest attributes as we embody them. The end of one story becoming the beginning again before returning home to the clouds once more.
My travels always take me to museums, monasteries, and temples… stirring memories and reminders of things from the past as the way things were during my last visit. Pictures taken only to record how things have changed. Shandong and Sichuan always in the forefront and where my spirit seems to soar. There is so much to Chengdu as a part of the story. Qingyang Mountain to the north, the Taoist and Buddhist temples, museums, the Leshan Giant Buddha to the south, and so much more.
The table in the teahouse where I sit in contemplation bringing into focus both the past and future knowing I am where I belong. I often return here as the pivot in meditation reminding and recollecting who I have always been. Being physically present elsewhere becoming an afterthought. Appreciating all those things that have remained unchanged over the centuries… even to memories of Marco Polo’s visit to Chengdu more the seven hundred years ago. Things have changed oh so very little.
This is the story that I am here to tell. Why does it need to be told at all? My writing doesn’t appear good enough to be published – except for here on my own website… but what does it matter? I write from the depth of who I have always been. Not for commercial reasons but expressing the universal flow as a way of remembering old friends I have come to call on and to know again. It is as if those who follow the story know how it ends and that’s all that matters.
What can it matter from where I am doing it now? Is what I am doing at this moment going to differ much from one place to the next? If Buddhism teaches me that life is illusion, then what am I doing here? Perhaps it is to remember and reminis with those I have always known with what we now find that propels all to greater depths of experience and understanding.
To be always found to be at arms-length because others see me as someone or something beyond themselves. Beyond equals – except in China… especially in Qufu and Jining and of course in Chengdu. Living beyond where others see themselves there is little connection because others don’t see themselves in you.
Appearing to have no friends lesser than yourself means you seemingly appear to have a lonely path to follow. Except that you and your mentors know better.
Always feeling that I am to let the universe decide where I am to go and when I am to arrive. Not always simply as a physical presence, but from where my expression is best suited. Getting closer to meditation, quiet stillness and nature, and letting it define us. In the end, it does not matter where we are doing it from as you have come to define your own universe. You have all the material you need just to do your best at translating the present as you travel.
In referencing my notes, I have left my table in the park in Chengdu, stopped for a couple days in Chongqing, and have now arrived in Shanghai where my journey to China ends on this trip. Thoughts from here are as if concluding remarks encapsulating lessons learned and what is needed going forward.
We have always been to and fro – from here to there – seen all there is to see. Our path eternal. Our own journey never-ending. I choose to return from the mountaintop in order that I may experience human emotions while my own growth determines the time of my next arrival. My traveling companion not intended to be another person. I travel as if through time but resting assured that I am not left unattended.
To live the life we are meant to live. To be natural, unafraid, kind, and gentle. To never utter a harsh word letting virtue be illustrative of patience you are here to seek and refine. In no rush knowing you’ve already arrived letting go of those things that may deprive you of ultimate joy and freedom.
Rituals going forward simply reminders that patience exemplifies and rewards our ultimate virtue. As we look to virtue mindfulness comes forth to open the next door. It always comes back to where we are doing it from… the mindset that we bring to living each day. What it is that takes us there.
Even the most basic Buddhist practices – metta meditation (“May all beings be happy and well”), the bodhisattva vow (“May I attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings”), and the vows of refuge (“I take refuge in the Buddha, dharma, and sangha”) – contain a spirit of invocation and prayer. What it is that brings us to inevitable joy, as we exemplify the person we would want the world to become.