Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Royal Path

Ocasionally (like yesterday) I find something so intriguing that I jump the queue and bring something out that is fresh. I have touched on the idea of Royalty before, because it figures in my stories. I say I was once a mage to a queen. I don't know if I have ever shared this:

My mother used to wonder how I came by certain traits. One of them was my displayed sense of "to the manor born". She divorced my father when I was two. Already some characteristics of his were mine. More appeared in me as time went on. She marveled at how aspects of my character seemed genetic since my father was nowhere around to drive them. This drove her crazy, since some of these characteristics were the ones she didn't care for in my father. Oh well. Some of my character seemed to skip generations too.

My paternal grandmother came from the south, from a line that included landed gentry, plantation owners. She herself was not rich, not land rich even but she had certain Southern attitudes. Robert de Bruce of Scotland (remember the movie Braveheart? That movie about William Wallace is fractured history but history nonetheless, and Robert is the son of the ailing and devastated king of Scotland, a large part of that story as told in the movie) is a reputed relation in my grandmother's line.

My mother thought there was a genetic thread carrying this sense of inheritance that seems to always have informed certain parts of my character coming up through this lineage. We were university student, post depression poor in my early years, me a child of a single mother, and I was raised up in the liberal and egalitarian leftist politics of the post war forties, nearly socialist. Yet here I was a scion of the realm even so. I carry royal blood and in certain ways, not all fortunate, I act like it.
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The true person is an active participant, engaged in her environment while remaining unoppressed by it. Although all phenomena are going through the various appearances of birth, abiding, changing, and dying, the true person doesn't become a victim of sadness, happiness, love, or hate. She lives in awareness as an ordinary person, whether standing, walking, lying down, or sitting. She doesn't act a part, even the part of a great Zen master. This is what Master Linji means by "being sovereign wherever you are and using that place as your seat of awakening."
--Thich Nhat Hanh, “Simply Stop,” Fall, 2007 Tricycle


The Royal Path

You tell me I am.
You say I am sovereign
anywhere I am,
anywhere I go.
You say I can use myself
as the throne you left
me, the legacy
of my gracious royal birth,
the seat of my loft,
my awakening,
my victorious return.

January 5, 2010 2:16 AM

14 comments:

  1. Yesterday, you knelt before another; today, you are the liege lord. This is no accident of birth or lineage. It is the dichotomy within us all - god and man, risen and fallen.

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  2. Or psychotic...:)

    Actually, here is the grace of time. Time is what stops everything from happening all at once. If I were actually living those moments wholeheartedly that close together, I would be torn apart in the topological fields.

    However today's poem was written yesterday and the poem of the previous day was written last year mid-March. I have no trouble with the apparent paradox itself. It merely means that the posture of submission and the posture of royal inheritance both are illusory, shadow tracks of deeper topology that cannot be expressed directly. That I would (that we would) live within such paradoxical topology is a direct inheritance of quality from the realm itself, its quantum nature.

    Wow. Do you have any idea how difficult the calculation is to produce that last set of three sentences?

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  3. I agree with Michelle,

    Definitely psychotic ;D But in a good way.

    xoxo

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  4. Man you people are tough. Is this like being married or something?? :)

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  5. I love that you make me laugh -- not you Christopher ;) I was talking to Michelle and Karen! Oh! Okay -- And you too!

    xoxo

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  6. I see you are taking us on a trip...that'll be a , well, a trip :)

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  7. :)

    Hugs to you, Christopher ;)

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  8. Psychotic isn't always bad!

    Nobility is a state of mind as much as a birthright, but it's always nice to have the birthright to back it up. Think of noblesse oblige, the requirements that come with privilege. In this day and age, it's much less tangible, but still there, I think: you treat others benevolently, and they show you respect. So occupy that throne. :)

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  9. I have a recent year and a half reunion experience that bears out how disposition and comportment are as genetic as hair and eyes and blood type. It continues to be an amazing gift to behold.
    Your poem has some nicely ambiguous overlaps.... I like the doubling of possibilties

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  10. Yes, I am aware that the sense of sovereignty that is the Buddhist birthright is of a different nature when compared to the nature of royal blood. However, there is no universal dispensation of the capacity to ascend. We assume that all persons holds within themselves this moment of special privilege in the wheel of life, that the human life is very close to a break out point, even though higher beings (as they say, like angels) are unable to break free just like lower beings. Yet it is obvious that not all humans are close, nor do they even want to break free of the wheel of life. Thus there is an exclusiveness that could be called royal nature here as well.

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The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.


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