Francis Meyrick

Red Dust (1): If you need a Teacher

Posted on February 23, 2014

Red Dust : If you need a teacher

It is a few days afterwards.
The rain has eased off, but it is still blowing hard up here. The plucky “Little Bird that flew off Slea Head” is around, somewhere. I wonder about him. And the story I wrote out about him. Already, it seems, chiseled indelibly into my tiny, struggling mind. Now I have climbed, alone, to the top of the County Kerry hill behind my little Irish cottage. I can see for miles over the Atlantic Ocean. I think of the Little Bird. I don’t know I will spend the rest of my life wondering occasionally about him. And I don’t know that over thirty years later, I will find myself meditating in an apartment in Abbeville, Louisiana, and sitting back on that cliff. Feeling the wind tug at my anorak. I don’t know I will see, in a calm manner, the grass swaying in the wind. I will see the rocks, and the mud. I will feel the clammy, moist surface of the rock I am now leaning against. I don’t know that. Or maybe, I do. Maybe I have taken the first, tentative, baby steps towards realization, on some higher level, that Time is not a straight line constant. Time morphs. It is a road with many curves, and from where I stand, shivering, on my rocky peak, I can look down, and know my eyes are trying to open. I see perhaps, in my mind, through a mist, the Almost Beginning of that Road. And the Almost End. Together. At the same Time. It doesn’t matter. Somehow, I don’t worry. Because already I sense, I will never forget these days.

They say if you need a Teacher, he will find you.
In person, or in a guise, or through the medium of the printed word.
I know I need a teacher. I wonder who -or what- will come. I saw the Little Bird. And I know we are part of the same, indivisible whole. We shall both return one day, and shake off the world of Red Dust. The world of Man, and desire. The world of vanity, and ambition. I have tasted already the bitter fruits of Alienation from The Whole.
Here, I am at peace. Cold and wet, with cheeks stinging, but happy that I climbed up here. The wind is still whipping up giant white foamers, that charge at the cliffs. The foam from the tall waves, falling backwards, is leaving long streaks over the Ocean. Tracks. All the way back to the distant horizon. Past the far away, uninhabited islands. Shadows from rushing clouds bump each other across this watery desert. Bright rays from a determined sun jostle and joust with these dark, fleeting shadows.
There is nobody else around. I have not seen anyone for days. I am alone, and partly at peace. But I also found myself frowning. Partly. Because I know I need a teacher. I am missing something important. I shut my eyes, and listen to the thoughts stirring in my deeper self. There is a voice speaking to me, quietly, with a gentle humor. Asking me questions. What…?
What is my goal…?
I’m not sure. I think I want to do Good? Be a good person? Live an upright Life?
Somehow, I am missing something. What!? There is no reply, only the wind over Old Ireland, and the sea gulls calling moodily to one another. I sway in the wind, aware that the cold rain has increased its patter against my clothes. For many minutes, I sway unsteadily, leaning back against the clammy rock, eyes closed, listening to the sound of my inner thoughts. Is it music? Or cacophony? What is it that bothers me so much?
I am so limited. So blind.
I know it. I sense a Great Missing. A Great lack of Understanding in me. It is as if something close at hand persistently eludes me, despite my best efforts. Is it that I am vain? Is it that I cannot possibly do Good, or be Good, until I learn who I am? And cure myself, before I dare attempting to cure others? Is it that I am lacking in even basic Enlightenment?
All living things are part of a Great Whole…
Where have I heard that? I know the Sea is one great whole. Not a collection of individual waves. I know that a wave will rise to great height and strength in a mid-Ocean storm. I know that eventually, that same wave will run out, quietly, placidly, in a momentary ripple, on a sandy beach somewhere, and wash the feet of the Lost Pilgrim staring unseeingly out to sea. Like the time I stood, alone, on a beach in Angola, Africa. Bare footed, and silent, musing, wondering, at the incoming ripples. And the reality of that wave washing out its last gasp on the warm, welcoming sand. And dying. A calm, natural, peaceful process. Which does not diminish the Ocean. In the slightest.

They say if you need a Teacher, he will find you.
In person, or in a guise, or through the medium of the printed word.
I read some words in a book, over and over again. I struggle to understand. “Man’s Nature is the same as the nature of Heaven. Heaven gives birth to all creatures, and they all go different directions. But sooner or later they return to the same place…”
It is true. I accept that statement from Master Jen, intuitively, on some level of understanding, whilst shaking my head on a different one. Some part of me fights. Reason fights Intuition. Some part of me is unwilling to shake off the Red Dust. Some part of me is a skeptic, an unbeliever, a rusting hull, beached hopelessly on the unforgiving rocks of Misleading Modernity.
I read on, Again. For the millionth time. “The goal of this Universe, its highest goal, is nothingness. Nothingness means Return. Nothingness is the body of the Tao. Not only man, but plants and animals and all living things are part of this body, are made of this body, this body of nothingness. Everything is one with nothingness. There aren’t two things in this Universe…”

They say if you need a teacher, he will find you.
In person, or in a guise, or through the medium of the printed word.
An exceptionally bright ray of gold has fought its way down to the Ocean below. It abruptly bathes the foaming cauldron in brilliance. The waves, almost like columns of struggling soldiers of Thought, march on against the light, shrugging it off, determined, relentless, committed only to the campaign. Below me, the dumb rocks of my Mind lie in wait. Sullen, defiant, ready for the kill. The showering spray, the deep, sub surface roar, the thunder clap of power expending its force, seemingly uselessly, against the indifferent boulders of my withering skepticism.
I read on. Again. “There aren’t two things in the Universe. To realize this is the goal not only of Taoism, but also of Buddhism. Everything in this world changes. Taoists and Buddhists seek that which doesn’t change. This is why they don’t seek fame and fortune…”
Ah! Fame and fortune… Such childishness. It is so illusory. Vanity of vanities. The lust for power and glory. Thank God for the Atheist, Carl Sagan. And his memorable words. His eulogy of “The Pale Blue Dot”. That pixel, lost in Space. The beautiful, fragile, immensely threatened, home of all our lives. All Our Mother

They say if you need a Teacher, he will find you.
In person, or in a guise, or through the medium of the printed word.
“This is why they don’t seek fame and fortune. They seek only the Tao, which is the nothingness of which we are all created and to which we all return. Our goal is to be one with this natural process…”
An exceptionally loud sub-sea roar echoes around the hill. That was a huge wave, obliterating itself. A huge thought, beating against the bulwarks of my dull psyche. Reason fights Faith. Which -in me- is more powerful?
* * * * *

I sigh. It is 04.22 in the morning. On the meaningless date of February 22, 2014. Which is some thirty odd interesting -fascinating- years after the little Bird struggled over the waves off Slea Head. I am getting up, to go and fly. It promises to be a busy day. I shall fly five, maybe six hours. Over those waves. In my choppy. With my blades beating the thought laden air, respectfully, into temporary submission.
And I shall chat and joke with my passengers, like I always do. One said he had never flown with a pilot who laughed more. And made him laugh more. And I shall cautiously pull power, and pitch, and bank, and climb, and descend. I shall feel my skids carefully kissing the steel decks, and the rough concrete of our base ramp.
And I shall gaze in delight out the windows of my airborne office, and marvel, gratefully, at the sun beating off the waves, and the waves marching on, and Time standing still, and that lone figure, on the top of a Kerry hill, all those years ago, staring out over nothingness.
And I shall be happy to fly. And when I have a solo leg, with nobody on board, I shall ponder those waves, and the sea, and the way to understanding -perhaps- the Tao. And wonder about the goal.

Of being One. With the Natural Process.


Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on June 6, 2015, 4:57 am

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