On Forgetting and Remembering

Curious by nature, I ask a lot of questions.

During the years of my apprenticeship with Joan, she was infinitely patient with my indefatigable pursuit of truth, only on the rarest of occasions insisting that the “shop was closed” and even then with a wink and a smile which reassured me that it would reopen for business after her class preparations or her breakfast or a good night’s sleep. There was nothing she loved to do more than teach, thus never a day passed without talk of consciousness inserting itself between activities.

Occasionally I entertain worrisome thoughts about all that I have forgotten — the sound of Joan’s laugh, which tambura tuning goes with which chant — and most importantly, the non-dual understanding, drawn from her many years of practice and affirmed by her teacher, Jean Klein, which Joan so generously shared with me and those of us who had the privilege of her company.

This morning I happened upon a short video I took of Joan about five months before her body transitioned. In it she addresses the topic of remembering and forgetting. In less than 30 seconds she clarifies the matter… with a twinkle in her eye. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.


Q: Is there any such thing then, as universal truth?

Joan: The truth cannot be spoken. If it’s spoken it’s not the truth. The Buddha just held up a flower.

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