Sunday, February 16, 2014

Not Zen 98: On Reflection

"These folks who are supposed to be wise spend an undue amount of time on reflection," said a young woman as she threw down the book she had been reading. She'd been leaning against the wall. She pushed herself away it.

Her grandmother turned the page on her magazine. It crinkled. Her gaze passed over her grand-daughter.

"At first I thought they must be talking about meditation," the grand-daughter said. She strode to the front door. "Then I read them again and again and there's no mistaking that they are talking about mundane physical reflections. They mention the moon all the damn time. It's always a reflection of the moon."

"Yes, images on still water," her grandmother confirmed. She closed her magazine and laid it in her lap.

"But why?" The grand-daughter ran her hands over the coat she'd left next to the door.

"It's an allegory." The old woman propped up her feet. Her grand-daughter snorted at her words without turning her head. "Those teachers are referring to the inter-dependence of things. They sometimes mean the immediacy of things as well."

"The immediacy part is true, I suppose." The young woman put her arm into the sleeve of her jacket. "It's the immediacy of the speed of light."

"They mean something more. I don't use the analogy much. If I did, I would say that both the immediacy and the interdependence are true. The image of the reflection can't exist without the water, the light, and the object in the image. Neither can those exist as they are, in the moment, without the reflection."

"All things are unified, yes. That's hardly a profound point." She finished with her jacket. Hands by her side, she waited.

"If you say so. You are full of such reflections yourself. I see your teachers in you. I see your mother. I see your son, who needs more of your attention."

"I'd rather not talk about that." She jammed her hands into her pockets and stared out the window above the front door. She caught a glimpse of the pale image of herself in the glass and turned away from it.

"You are an original," her grandmother observed. '"But you are a reflection of others, too."

"This is a pretty good explanation, grandma." She put her hand on the doorknob. With a sigh, she turned it. "I suppose this is your own, original take."

Her grandmother shook her head. She leaned back in her comfortable chair and closed her eyes.

"I'm sorry that you've missed the point," she said. She listened for the door but didn't hear it swing open. She peeked at her grand-daughter, who was still waiting with one fist in her jacket pocket. "Each idea is fashioned after another. Not a single person has ever existed without others."

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