Remembering a quiet moment in Xi’an, China, 2014

Today I learned about the metaphor of the shark’s eyelid. Sharks have a transparent membrane that allows them to see despite the blood and carnage that fills the water when it attacks. This is a handy symbol for our ability to function while remaining blind to the pain in our lives—particularly the damage we cause.

Before switching to the simplicity of an hourglass, I would listen to meditation recordings that said utterly deranged things to me. Sometimes it was a panic-inducing question: Do you feel like you’re behind your face? Or batshit commands: Breathe through your backside. Even the more benign instructions sent my mind reeling: Release your thoughts, memories, and images. This phrase left me imagining a man ringing a bell in the night while calling, “Bring out your dead.” So much chit-chat and babble, the endless comings and goings of the mind. In prison, solitude is a punishment; in a monastery, it is a reward. “Treat every moment as your last,” said Shunryu Suzuki. “It is not preparation for something else.”

Seefeel – Starethrough

From Starethrough | Warp, 1994 | More

Seefeel’s back in heavy rotation this winter, a woozy blend of fuzzed-out guitars, cosmic vocals, and dub tactics that holds up incredibly well after twenty-five years. See also: Shunryū Suzuki and nictitating membranes.

Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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