The Dreaming of the Sands

Photo: ‘Dust Devil’ – Wikimedia Commons

We can examine the sinew and bones of experience for their secrets, but it may be that the mystery of time is to be found elsewhere.

I have the privilege of knowing people who are working on books and classes that introduce the insights of Tibetan Buddhism to westerners such as me. How different that endeavor must feel from my attempts to express my own experience. I have themes and motives for writing; but since my experience is held within the concerns of my personal perspectives, I only catch glimpses of the great sweep of creation, and what it might signify.

This morning I awoke within a dream that I recognized as the same situation I had awoken to on several previous mornings. In it, I am working on a couple of sentences in the lead paragraph of something I’m writing. It’s unknown to me whether these sentences (quoted above) are anything more than a scrap of text surrounded by nothing else, like a piece of cork floating in the sea, or whether—perhaps earlier in that dream—there may have been a larger composition with more developed images in play. Neither do I know anything more about the person who is writing. Are they an archeologist or an anthropologist writing about their research? Perhaps that persona is nothing more developed than an image in a mind playing with a handful of words, which have no further reference than their own spinning; as if a dust devil, crossing a patch of desert, were to imagine it was on a journey prompted by its own motivations. While both the spinning vortex of sand and the settled sand dunes out of which it briefly arises may just be the stirring of bursts of wind in a cosmos that is not thereby fathomed in its depths.

Yet I am grateful for this spinning vortex of wind and the grains of sand that seem to give me a body with a trajectory. Without the illusion of consequential presence, I would not have this opportunity to rise above the sand and look across it at the mountains in the distance, or contemplate the sky in which clouds seem to tell their own stories of gamboling sheep and trumpeting elephants. Because when I once again settle back onto the floor of the desert, perhaps for eons to come, I will have new dreams through which to follow the lion and Orion’s Belt as they cross the nighttime sky, and to sip from the Big Dipper, as it pours out the shining waters of eternity.

So I will keep dreaming, vortex of stardust that I am. And perhaps one day it will be revealed to me what this life is really all about.

About Michael Gray

I first started studying TSK in the mid 1980's and have since attended a number of retreats and workshops at the Nyingma Institute, in both TSK and Buddhist themes. I participated in the life-changing Human Development Training Program in 1991, and upon returning to Albuquerque co-founded an organization, Friends in Time (with a friend who has Lou Gehrig's Disease), which continues to serve people with similiar disabilities. I contributed an essay to "A New Way of Being"--the last one in the book--in which I describe how learning to honor who I have been has broadened and deepened my openness to present experience. I live in New Mexico with my wife and two sons.
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