Tuesday, December 23, 2008


It's an oddly warm December day. I pause on my trek through the woods and stare: A toppled river birch is being silently feasted upon by bracken fungi which, in time, will turn the trunk into pristine organic nutrients. Those nutrients, perhaps, will be sustenance for some other birch, and certainly for the adjacent Christmas ferns and spotted wintergreen. Nature wastes nothing. Balance is beautifully and mercilessly maintained.

In John Burroughs' America, Burroughs writes, "How insignificant appear most of the facts which one sees in his walks, in the life of the birds, the flowers, the animals, or in the phases of the landscape or the look of the sky--insignificant until they are put through some mental or emotional process and their value appears."

Of course, we need no mental or emotional process to grasp our own true nature. Just a bit of self-reflection or direct seeing will do it. Everyone comes to this understanding differently. But once it occurs, that's it. You require absolutely no time to "deepen" or "stabilize" it. And why should you? This is who and what you are--this ripe and glorious presence, in a lived existence (for you now know that there is no "you" living a life). You know, too, that despite the months, years, or even decades of searching, there has been no trek or journey. Indeed, you have never--for one moment--not been who you are.

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