The Map is Not the Territory, the Pointing Finger Not the Moon

Many before you have ventured into themselves. Their maps and travelogues can inspire you, but the topography they describe cannot and will not be your own. You will find descriptions of states called illumination, grace, enlightenment, liberation and unity, and imagine yourself arrived at the destination. Imagination is a great power. It is magic and sorcery pure. It is pretence and delusion.

You will boast your humility; show off the genius of your ignorance; parade the originality of your clichés. It is most likely part of the process. After travelling ten thousand miles, you will recognize the very threshold that you failed to cross with your first step; and you will fail to cross it yet again.

Eventually, you will not want to want to the point where you will stop wrapping yourself in the chains of desire. You will at last be so terrified of your terror that you will put down the mirror. Maybe. More likely, the preening will continue, becoming ever more subtle. You will reassure yourself by busily teaching others what you yourself have yet to learn. So it is with the priests, the judges and the teachers in every generation.

In the end you may be quiet enough to hear your silence; still enough not to disturb the restless creatures of mind so they dissolve before coming into being; sensible enough to forget wisdom and remember only love. Or so I am told.

May 2004