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Only Don't Know


All the great traditions speak of walking empty into the next and only now. This can sound like a real bunch of crap sometimes. What is "emptiness" anyway, and the eternal "Now" that so many people are talking about can seem like a weird inside joke . . . that you are just not "getting" or are even a part of.

I am writing with a mixed bag of a heart this morning . . . life is equally full of potential and loss, promise and betrayal, new exciting experiences and today - in particular - the reality that a dear friend is on life support and probably won't pull through.

The paradoxes abound . . . in dying we leave all of this living stuff behind . . . and yet in each their own way, all traditions, even atheism, have a plan, a flavor of certainty that promises dessert - comfort food for the good, food poisoning for the wicked and an eternal diet of nothing else for others.

It seems kind of strange to write ambivalently about death, the unknown and deep sadness, but it's because I only don't know. Seung Sahn, a Korean Zen Master used phraseology teachings like "Only Don't Know." And not knowing is comforting me right now. I am empty - now now now - birds sing outside my room, my fingers slide on smooth computer keys, I hear myself swallow. Only this.

"American dog say, 'Woof, woof.' Korean dog say, 'Mung, mung.' Polish dog say, 'How, how.' So which dog barking is correct? That is human beings' barking, not 'dog' barking. If dog and you become one hundred percent one, then you know sound of barking. This is Zen teaching. Boom! Become one." Seung Sahn


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© 2020 Susan Q Brown​. All Rights Reserved.

American Contemporary Painter

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