Jinqing asked a student, “What’s that sound outside the door?”
The student answered, “The sound of rain.”
Jinqing said, “People are upside-down. They fool themselves and chase after things.”
“How about you?” asked the student.
“I’m reaching not to lose myself.”
“What does that mean, reaching not to lose myself?”
“Being born is easy, the way of freedom is hard.”
There’s a wonderful moment in meditation where I lose myself in the sounds, forget to be separate. But then I remember myself again. I can feel the movement in my perception, back and forth, between the particular personal things I care about and the eternal moment I’m part of. I’ve been looking through old papers and I notice how touched I am by the work I did to become a person, the drawings and the papers I wrote, the searching and making sense of things that was part of becoming a me.
I’m reaching not to lose myself, and myself is both the personal, and all the rest of it, too: the sound of the fog dripping off the trees, the owls hooting to each other in the dark, the clock ticking.