Here “it” is, shining in plain view. This it-that-isn’t-an-it has been eternally closer than close; that’s why the Sufis say it’s nearer than your jugular vein.
We overlook what is right here, always–because it is so intimately known that we can’t get away from it. Ever. It is so familiar that we simply don’t notice.
Al Bistami (a Sufi who lived in the 800s) said, “This thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.” This served as a koan for me for a couple of years. Then one morning while rising out of sleep, the koan revealed itself: until we turn and look inward rather than outward– and it is seekers who eventually make that turn.
Our culture, our parents train us, inculcate us, and–in most cases–crush us if we don’t learn to look outward and accept name and form as the way things are. Turning inward, questioning what 999,999 out of 1,000,000 people are convinced is true, is a radical act. It takes more courage than those 999,999 people have (at this moment). But the truth of direct experience is completely available to every one of us. If you are uncomfortable, this turn can be a private act. No one need know; you won’t look any different.
I have noticed that I need to mind my mouth, however–and that’s why I have the outlet of this blog.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2012
(with a bow of thanks to John Wheeler–one of his book titles is Shining in Plain View, and to Pique, an early blogger who gave me permission to use this photo years ago.)