I'm leafing through the reprint of my first book published 20 years ago, and I'm reminded of a waka poem by Japanese poet Tachibana Akemi. He has a series of poems starting with the line 'How pleasant it is – ' [tanoshimi wa]. The poem I have in mind is this one:
How pleasant it is –
when I'm reading through a book
at my leisure
and see there a person
who is exactly like me
Often we read for identifications, but the best readings are the ones that recognize a perfect mirror. Why? Because mirrors surprise. Surprise with what? The fact that since the mind itself is a mirror, it gets seduced by the conceptual, by what you put in front of it. And what is better – and more lasting – than an idea that's clear at the essential level? Hold this thought and think of the implications of your positioning – here, now, in the flesh and blood – for what you're not ready to see. As yet, and still not, because the premise for the essential idea is wrong.
How? Ask yourself: 'what does it mean to say that I'm here, now, in the flesh and blood, making identifications, when I'm not ready for the idea that what we call here and now and flesh and blood is nothing but an idea?'
how pleasant it is –
to dissolve the useless illusion
that's devoid of seeing how the serendipitous step
is what gives us strength in the understanding of all things
and in that understanding seeing there a person
'who is exactly like me...'
Readiness does not favor the wilful but the wondrous one.