“The fourth pebble represents space, space that is within me and around me,” says Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. See his “Pebbles Meditation” in his book, A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles. “Breathing in, I see myself as space. Breathing out, I feel free.” See and hear “Pebble for your pocket meditation.”*
“Yesterday, once more in a coffee shop, I experienced a variation of what I was aware of in meditation the other day (October 23, 2013). I think it is more and more how I am experiencing people in general, but quiet times of practice—and I do practice in coffee shops—bring it to the fore. Instead of buddha nature, which has potentially sentimental reverberations, I saw that everyone in that shop had access—whether they knew it or not—to what I named the Clear Space. The Clear Space is the place within each of us that is peaceful awareness and discernment, the place that sees, that is never touched or diminished by distresses, confusion, doubts, despairs. I was gladdened and relieved to see how obviously that was so—I didn’t need to imagine them awakened or see evidence of it in the now. It was simply a fact… my experience of Clear Space tells me that it has no boundaries—that’s how I know it’s Clear Space and not ego—so if that is what Clear Space is, other people’s Clear Space has no boundaries either.”
Physical space also appears to us to have no boundaries, especially when we are camping under the stars.
We just look up and see and feel infinity, such as here in the mountains. Or when we take our Airstream trailer out to the desert and on clear nights experience a whole sky filled with stars or the desert floor and mountains lit up by brilliant moonlight.
On warm nights, we love to lean back and gaze at the wonderment of the heavens…
As we got into Earth orbit, I thought I saw Stephen Hawking fly by in a wheelchair.*
And it was cool to hear Chris Hadfield sing Space Oddity* at the space station.
As we continued orbiting, we opened our curtains, turned on our lotus light and connected with the cosmos, or as some would say, kosmos.
And I thought I heard the bell mentioned in The Great Bell Chant,* by Thich Nhat Hanh: “May the sound of this bell penetrate deep into the kosmos, even in the darkest spots, living beings are able to hear it clearly, so that all suffering in them ceases, understanding comes to their hearts, and they transcend the path of sorrow and death.”
Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me** because I believe* in the bell, clear space, and heaven.*
*This is a link to a YouTube video.
**This is a link to a YouTube video. The full quote, “Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe,” is the last sentence in the book The Polar Express, written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1985.
Author’s note: Please see the update in my post, “Spring flowers, leaves and end of life options,” on the progress of SB 128, the End of Life Option Act, as it makes its way through the California Legislature.