Mirror of Zen Blog

Old Crossroads

First time passing through this beautiful, cavernous space in several years. I felt my breath escape a beat as I emerged from the tunnel into this main hall again. I’m back on the road, from temple and home to other connections. Entering NYC on the Harlem Line just now from the restful ‘burbs.

I used to traverse this space twice a day while commuting to work in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Working as a paralegal in Midtown and Downtown funded my graduate studies in divinity school and eventually helping me to find the teachings that would revolutionise my life. So there is always much gratitude that I had access to the tools, then, that enabled me to study and embark on the deep existential searching which would lead so powerfully to the the core of “don’t know” mind. I was raised white, in a safe town, was given an excellent education by a fairly driven family in a time of peace and stability in the strongest country in world history, with lots of opportunities, and I somehow found these impossibly clear and practical teachings pointing straight to the nature of mind. Some sort of “paying it back” is in order. Thus the relentless activity all these years, which I will try now to eject from thanks to this pandemic and its lockdowns and cessation of regular gatherings.

But passing through this space is a part of this strange part of this strange pilgrimage home: Visiting a space which represented my furious effort to make money to pay for graduate school, so that I might have access to deep thinkers and perhaps find a teaching/teacher that would help me to be liberated from a lifetime of agonized suffering. This place was a head-down barreling-though experience, focused as I was on merely earning in these factory law firms so as to pay my own tuition and living costs for a monastic retirement from the world, for reflection, to enter some Emersonian study, in a New England setting.

This was one of my launch pads.

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