“When I look into your eyes I see nobody other than me.”
— attributed to Bob Dylan, from Modern Times
A recent post here, entitled Not Two!, received appreciative comments and in response to one I promised to follow up with the lines of inspiration for the title. The lines below are generally attributed to a Zen patriarch, Seng-ts’an, and are from a piece that is translated into numerous titles. This excerpt of of the longer piece is from a translation by Stephen Mitchell.
In the world of thing as they are,
there is no self, no non-self.
If you want to describe its essence,
the best you can say is “Not-two.”
In this “Not -two” nothing is separate,
and nothing in the world is excluded.
I encountered the opening Dylan quote while incubating and doing some research for this post… and of course it fit perfectly. My mind will not stop here however, determined as it is to find another quote itching for association:
Once we have …”fallen in love outwards,” once we have experienced the fierce joy of life that attends extending our identity into nature, once we realize that the nature within and the nature without are continuous, then we too may share and manifest the exquisite beauty and effortless grace associated with the natural world. — John Seed
And now, at 3 AM with a the rays of a nearly full moon illuminating the darkness of my office, I am also reminded of a post here titled Self-Love: A Radical Political Act. It closes thus:
“This Self seeking birth is, I believe, the experience and knowledge of our Wholeness. We are not separate. We belong. To gift our selves with such love as this? This is the most radical political act any of us can commit!”
From the perspectives of Bob Dylan to Seng-ts’an to John Seed to my own, we have come on a long journey in this brief post, full circle we might say. It must be the moon tonight because now T. S. Eliot wants his say too.
We shall not cease from our exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
“Little Gidding,” pt. 5, Four Quartets
Note: Mitchell’s The Second Book of the Tao is a beautiful reference for Seng’ts’an’s poetic writing.