The Hum of Sunyata


Image from Insect Lab

Early morning meditation in my living room: Carpet rolled up, mat laid on the floor, winter wind battering against the west wall. Thoughts passing through my mind as alarming as the buzzing of hornets, as soft as the flight of moths, as uncertain as the glide and landing of a katydid. Small, flying insects and thoughts that I expend so much energy shooing away and hiding from orswatting dead and scraping off the bottom of my shoe. I tire myself and lose sight of the moment, focusing on the small dots that flit and are lost between the fingers of my hand.

Thoughts are just thoughts and gnats just gnats. Born from still water and hatched in cloudy pools. Attached firm to young leaves or deposited into cozy cells and fed until full-grown and bloated. Thoughts are born from stagnant mind – unfragrant water obscured with a clear translucent film. The rainbow of petroleum on a puddle of rainwater at the hour-of-ghosts at a gas station. The soapy residue that remains after the crashing of waves on a polluted beach.

Thoughts will be born. There will always be a fertile ground for them to find nourishment. Born of inspriration: a multicolored dragonfly flitting in and out of cattails. Born of boredom: a scarab rolling a ball of dung up a hill of sand. Born from desire: a mayfly born of the moment to find a mate followed by death and a dry husk. Born of diligence: Ants marching in line and a bee traveling from flower to flower. Born of attachment: A louse in your hair or a tick dangling from a hay stalk. They all provide nourishment and shelter for the birth of thoughts and insects…

of ideas and wasps,

    of loneliness and crickets.

Stilling our minds we allow for thoughts and insects to land and work as their nature drives them, until they then move on. A wasp will land but without agitation will not sting. Inspriration will flit in the background waiting for the proper moment to land. Desire with arise and then fall away…empty. We generate so much excitement and needless energy over our thoughts and insects. Much of this noise, all this noise, is nothingness – empty.  We prefer to move by ignorance, to swat, jump and flay our arms, succeeding only in turning one solitary bug into a swarm. We strike the nests of hornets and run through the underbrush stirring ignorance while agitating every leaf so hope and compassion find nothing on which to land.

All of these thoughts, perceptions, conceptions, physical and mental aerobics, mind-fucks, these temporary motivations and lasting obsessions are all just the buzzing of insects… the constant but erratic hum of sunyata. After we accept the hum we can allow it to blend into the background like the song of crickets blending to the teardrop of dusk – like cicadas singing on a screendoor. The hum of sunyata is the music of our lives. Many songs, constantly changing and blending into one. Beautiful and jarring.

Eventually we sit and listen to the crickets. Eventually the hum of sunyata becomes the music of this life and the overture to the next. When basking in our own heavenly glory, tortured in self-made hells or roaring like an animal, there is always a song in distance, barely perceptible, waiting for us to hear it.

Chirp, motherfucker, chirp.


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