I have just figured out the underlying essence of the itch when I’m idle in my ideal idyll. Once one finds one’s place in the world there is no physical or temporal location that can define it.
The old Yaqui sage, Don Juan, told Castaneda to find his “sieto,” a place to sit to seek a deeper understanding of the ways of the natural world leading me to think of a certain place, the bank of a particular stream perhaps, that would be the best place to meditate. Until just now I considered my little seat under the shade of the garden shed to be that place and, until now, it served very well. So well in fact that I have come to realize that, as with all attachments, this one must be obviated as well.
The fact that I am conveying this understanding as clearly as it came to me at an earlier time at a different location is proof enough for me that “sieto” isn’t a place or time, it is the genuine realization of belonging in the universe, of the cosmos, on the earth, to nothing, wherever I choose to roam at whatever pace through space. I have had this realization before, under the influence of psychedelics and through rationally intellectual understanding, but this is the first time it has occurred to me amidst a sober, foggy sodden sunrise in such a clear, coherent, indelibly visceral manner; as if my train of thought burst out of a reality tunnel into the open air and became too large to fit in any container ever again.
I have always felt one’s attitude was the predictor of one’s satisfaction with the progress of the day but attitude is a surface sort of interface compared to feeling at home wherever you are however you feel. Two tales illustrate the difference:
A Buddhist monk meditated a long time in a cave in the Himalayas until he had tapped so deeply into ki forces that he could shake the snow from any mountain by making it tremble. Feeling fulfilled in his mission to become enlightened, he came back down to the village in whose market place the first person to touch him after all that time bumped into him in the jostling crowd. He barked angrily, “Watch out where the hell your going.”
After ordering a special meal composed of specific power foods to aid Castaneda’s quest, Don Juan ordered a cheeseburger for himself, eliciting Carlos’ protestation. “Your food was to help you have a vision, once you have it you can eat anything.”
Once one quits all attachments, one must quit the attachment to quitting. Once the mourning widow has stirred the last dying embers of the pyre she must toss in the stirring stick.
The Mountain Song
It was up some laughing river where I'd gone to spend the day.
I had such fantastic visions I could hardly stand to stay.
And I stood within myself and suddenly felt free,
And I stood above the burdens that puzzle you and me.
I became awareness that was shared with all around,
With the trees, the sky, the flowers, and the wind, the sun, the ground.
I heard the birds were singing and I found them same as me,
And I understood our sorrows and why they should not be.
I saw this plane of living, it was nothing more than faith,
A skin that covered glory, far beyond our love or hate,
A living crystal fairyland where loving is our grace,
A pyromanic gardenthat knows no time nor space.
I saw what we've been doing to it, saw it as insane,
Still a marching like good Christians with our wars, the sword, the flame,
To crush all those damned infidels, defend what should be shame.
And again I shared our sorrows and knew we all must bear the blame.
I see it all as part of us to know and share alike
With a universal willingness to know and do what's right,
To understand our brotherness and stop this awful race,
Let our children grow in peace, know their life shall not be waste.
First there is a mountain, then it seems the mountain's gone,
But then, if you take another look, why, it's been there all along.
We can be just like that river as it laughs along its way,
Or stand beneath the shadows that take the sun away