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soft animal

on knowing (and not knowing) our path

by kye on April 16, 2010

some thoughts about chapter 1 of the Tao Te Ching

So what is tao anyway?

Well… we both can and can’t say what it is.  Because among other things, tao is where we are, who we are, and where we’re going.

It’s about our path. And at the same time as we know that path…
we also don’t know it.

As soon as we think we’ve got it down,
we haven’t.

When we think we’ve got it down, it’s a sign that it’s time to step away from that story about our lives which our desires have laid out 123, and feel the whole big unknowable unnamable vastness that refuses to be contained in any story.

Because if we get attached to ‘the’ story of our path, we’ll end up losing our way. That story isn’t the path, and life will show us that fact very soon.

But on the other hand, if all we do is just contemplate the vast wondrous unknowability of life, then we aren’t going anywhere.  And that doesn’t work so well, either.

But if the story doesn’t work, and not having a story doesn’t work either, how do we know where to go?

By paying attention to our desire before the story.
Not the ‘hooked’ kind of desire, not the ‘I want a piece of chocolate’ kind…
but the deep deep quiet yearning towards…

…something that is more than the words we can say about it.

…something that’s right here, if we make the turn towards it, slow down, listen… feel…

…and then move. –A little, questing, experimental-but-certain move that fits this moment, and this creature which we are…

…a creature that is just what it is, in a world that is also just what it is, at this and no other moment.

I’m a creature before any names for me, capable of experiencing the world before any names for it.  In that before-ness, I’m free.

But also, I’m: kye-who-lives-at-the-corner-of-broadway-and-edgewood.  Because without a name and address, how will I get my mail?


the soft animal of this body

by kye on August 26, 2009

I’m feeling mammalian this morning: very nearly furry.

As I woke, I was just a little animal whose warm weight was even this moment leaving a warm imprint in the nest of my bed.  I felt both front paws tucked together under my chin.  I felt the imprint—in the curl of my body—of the fetus I once was.

And I feel the turn of the season.  Summer has nearly broken; first light comes later now.  It’s the first morning that the heat of my imprint before I first move, feels luxurious.

I stretch; my shoulders crackle.