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  • Writer's pictureAbigail King

Heart Sutra (my brain hurts a lot)

Our weather this spring has been hard to pin down. The lush green foliage and happy fireflies are lovely, but the constant predictions for rain (and the constant unreliability of the predictions) have made it a trick to schedule yoga outdoors.

"Hope to see you next week," we said in parting after our last park practice. A soft voice inside the decidedly non-religious me added a silent caveat: God willing. This is not a phrase I use, but it floated into my head and has remained there. I appreciate the sense of surrender, the implicit acceptance of our lack of control over circumstances. As the Buddha said, "Conditions are subject to decay".

Pondering surrender began to feel uncomfortable. My brain kept wanting to insert standard wisdoms: sure, God willing BUT you gotta show up, gotta do the work, take action; don't rely on luck or chance, exert what control you can... yet... what if we don't?

Somewhere later that day I came across a line from the Heart Sutra: Emptiness is form. Over dinner, my son (waxing enthusiastic about Alain Badiou) reminded me that there is more than one infinity. Sitting with these puzzles, another phrase came to mind and has remained adjacent, a refrain from the Bowie song Five Years... "my brain hurts a lot".

Form is empty.

Emptiness is form.

Emptiness is not other than form;

form is also not other than emptiness.

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