On the Vastness of Sky


(CHINA, Tibet) Stones below; skies above. (Photo taken by the author.)

(CHINA, Tibet) Stones below; skies above. (Photo taken by the author.)

All the meditation manuals will warn you: sitting will never rid you of your neuroses. If anything, you will feel them more intensely as a function of heightened awareness.

I don’t mind having neuroses. What I do mind is how…pedestrian they are. Everyday I sit and I watch the vultures in my head circle over the same corpses with an unflagging and almost affectionate absorption.

Vultures will be vultures, and I suppose anything counts as edible fare, really. Never mind if my ego would prefer vastly more profound dramas. But it’s the same middling concerns, the same trivial anxieties, the same mass of stuff that the German philosopher Martin Heidegger included under the label of Care (Sorge).

I’m not quite sure if the point of seeing all of it is to realize its minuteness and therefore achieve a wider and grander perspective, or

to realize its minuteness and cultivate a compassion for this tiny and constantly beleaguered sense of self, or—

to simply see it all, and surrender all sense of what’s minute and grand, what’s pedestrian and profound.

It could be all three. Which is possible, because along with the spectacle of the ever-circling vultures is a glimpse of the wide blue sky. Corpses below, vultures above, but the sky reigns supreme.

Let the vultures pick what they can.

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