this morning i am thinking of two different, maybe-related-in-ways-i- don't-see-yet ideas that i can't get out of my head: the tendency of everything to fly apart or dissolve and the necessity of proving things by opposites. my mind is often drawn to contemplation of that instant where everything flew out of nothing. how did it happen? what was the cause? will there be a point at which this constant expansion, this "flying apart" of the universe reverses itself and all things collapse into nothing?
what about opposites? can we understand tall without a short with which to compare it? can we understand complete without incomplete? empty without full? whole without fragmented? or the reverse. is noise the absence of silence or silence the absence of noise? this brings me to suffering and happiness. if suffering is absent, does that mean one is happy? can we understand happiness without having suffered? can one suffer and at the same time be happy?
i am much drawn to the dalai lama's teachings about happiness and his idea that every being has the right to be happy, that indeed this should be the basic direction of life. we should all be moving toward happiness, claiming it as our natural state of being. i don't know enough about buddhism to know if this is a (the) central teaching of buddhism, but i am convinced after living almost seventy years, that happiness is the best goal one can have. so i'm back to opposites and what happiness means. if i could let go of all clinging and craving, attain a perfect state of emptiness, would that be the point at which i am happy?
i find that i catch fleeting moments of happiness from time to time and that those moments are less fleeting that they once were. i'm not sure that means i am coming to an understanding of emptiness, but i am sure that more and more i sense a deep state of happiness that transforms suffering into experience rather than pain, suffering becomes non-suffering. would that i could have gotten farther along this path earlier in my life, but that is craving something that is tinged with regret for past failings!
here in the stillness of this morning as i think about matters that are too deep for my shallow mind, i touch the happiness that is elusive, and i feel at peace with the flying apart of the universe and all things in it while i am at the same time bound to each bit of matter that makes up what we call "environment." may we all find peace. may we find happiness that transcends momentary joys and suffering. may we be complete while all things are coming apart in the slow progression of time. shalom.