where’s the lateral?

04/14/2023 0 By BuddyCushman

In her book “Through Forests of Every Color”, a book about and of Zen Koans, Joan Sutherland describes going to a San Francisco exhibit of Richard Diebenkorn paintings and, after a while, realizing she was experiencing the light she knew from her southern California childhood – the paintings from a series of abstracted LA scenes. She felt drawn into the art, and at some point realized that, as she was looking at the paintings, the paintings were looking back at her.

Two nights ago, in the Wednesday Zoom Oakland Koan ‘discussion’ group – in what are called the “break-out rooms” – I noted that I can’t show up any Wednesday without some rock and roll thing slipping into my right-then world, and then it was The Talking Head’s “We’re On a Road to Nowhere.” (The evening’s Koan something about bowing just because.) The woman who spoke after me, a woman named Lora, from Chico, said that when she goes out into the world and bows to the things of the world, she feels the things of the world bowing back at her.

I suppose I’ve had some kind of inkling at times of that phenomenon, but two nights ago I was sort of stunned hearing it. I thanked her for sharing that, and I thanked the other two men in “the room” for creating a space in which to feel other. Different. More connected. A little stunned.

I’ve had the sensation, for a while now, that when I’m out there in the world, the separation between me – this Buddy Cushman me – and all the yellow flowers and purple wisteria, pieces of old cardboard on the street, rain puddles and people passing on sidewalks, morning doves on telephone wires – I’ve been feeling less space between me and all that, like the boundaries are thinning a little. Greater connection, a different breakout room experience. Though, perhaps not all that different.

Which may simply be me on that road to nowhere. Where there’s no destination to which the road travels. Being on the road is my destination.