I had a conversation with my Zen teacher this morning via email. I told him I thought I was going to take a vow soon to "not read any books for three months". I spend a lot of time reading Alice. Now that is not a bad thing but there comes a time when what you are looking for in the "spiritual life" (and all life is spiritual Alice) cannot be found in a book. Now this is not some new revelation for me. I have known this for quite sometime. But every now and then I have to remind myself again.
I think what is to be found is actually closer to me than I am to myself.
Here is part of my teacher's response to me. It was given in the form of a Zen poem:
And I think it's found in silence, solitude, community, joy, pain, suffering, and maybe even in that dirt you are looking at in the above picture.
It's ironic, the thing I am looking for I really can't get away from.
So why look?
Maybe because that is the only way we will ever truly SEE!
What does that "looking" look like?
Come ask me some day and I will show you.
And then we can talk about what "it" is that we are looking for.
Yeah, I know, this all seems a little mysterious.
Don't you just love a good mystery!