On distinguishing the Roller Coaster from the Amusement Park

Here we go again, riding the roller coaster of rapid change… up the slope, over the top and plunging back down, squealing, shrieking or otherwise, as megafires devastate the landscape, massive financial insecurities sweep the planet and global political systems sclerose and transform. Who’s in charge here? What’s the 800 number? We’d like to report a problem. This is not how it is supposed to be.

Or is it? The ancient wisdom masters identify parinama, “change” or “transformation,” as the basic condition of nature. Everything discernable is lumped into nature, even the mind. Stuff changes, feelings change, ideas change. Ideas about stuff change. Changing ideas about changing stuff change and it’s downright dizzying, this amusement park of Shiva (read: “the ultimate reality,” not the long-haired dude with the trident, although the image will do in a pinch).

And yet the ground on which all this raucous display is built rests unmoved by the pandemonium it supports. The ground is just ground, rain or shine. Stillness itself. How easy it is to be distracted by the rides. And yet, just the tiniest shift in the field of vision reveals the changeless. Just the tiniest shift in listening reveals the silence underlying, penetrating and encompassing the racket.

Just the tiniest shift. Now.

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