Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rinpoche in the Tree

"What if Condoleezza Rice steals your food again?" he asked.

"I can't do it alone, Mayakovsky Tree. If I can't protect a grand piano or birthday cake, then how can I carry my heart?"

He tilted forward in the breeze. An bouquet of squirrel-bole leaves fell and floated away.

"Your food is gone. The Secretary of State is sitting in the bedroom closet like she owns the place. She's eating Prairie Brand Salmon and Brown Rice with Rumsfeld in the upturned HP Laser-Print paper box."

The Mayakovsky Tree was turning bald, like he does every autumn. Branches bare, leaves transparent green.

"You've lost everything," he added. "Your restless, agitated mind is stunned, and thoughts subside."

Sogyal Rinpoche sat on a far branch, drinking tea and looking sleepy. His round head was reliable. He chewed a piece of rye toast.

"There's sudden, deep stillness," Rinpoche said. "Almost bliss. No more struggle. No effort. So one moment you have lost it all, but in the next moment your mind is resting in a deep state of peace."

He paused for a long time. I could've fallen asleep in the bathtub, walked inside an empty grocery bag, licked myself, or chased down a shoelace.

Eventually, he said, "When this kind of experience occurs, don't rush to find a solution. Remain in that state of stillness. Allow it to be a gap. In that gap you can catch a glimpse of your deathless nature, Shimmy."

"I, who praised the mouse buried in salad . . . am I perhaps quite simply the thirteenth apostle in an ordinary gospel?" I asked.

Rinpoche disappeared. His strange teacup quivered on the branch.

"If your voice rumbles bawdily," The Mayakovsky Tree said, swaying, "then from hour-to-hour around the clock, Jesus Christ may be sniffing the forget-me-nots of your soul!"

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