"Always be arriving and departing
," said the Master.
I knew about the arriving part.
I'd been trying to put it into practice
for some months. To not have goals, except to treat each present moment as my goal. At least that was my interpretation
of always arriving. I was afraid of asking
the Master to clarify what I thought I knew, for fear of exposing my ignorance
, which I knew was a problem in itself.
But I had more than that on my mind at that moment. "What do you mean by always departing?" I asked without thinking.
I instantly regretted my conversational attitude towards the Master.
"Think on it and tell me what it means to you."I should have expected that
. I didn't mean to waste the Master's time, nor my own, but I was so used to asking clarifying questions in normal conversations with so-called normal people. The Master didn't seem annoyed by my slip though. I suppose he saw me as little different from a fly landing on his leg, or the wind sweeping dust across the courtyard
I nodded a quiet goodbye to the Master and retreated from the room to think. The Master seemed neither pleased nor displeased by this.
"So if I'm always arriving, I'm always achieving my goals," I thought to myself. "That would be the basis of the Master's happiness." What did he mean by departing though?
I suppose normal people always started new projects after their achievements, possibly after a period of celebration
. So was the Master always in a state of starting new projects? Always treating each moment not only as a success, but the starting point of something new?
I walked the gardens for a few hours, trying to gather my thoughts
on the subject, in order to present a coherent view to the Master. I suppose he would tell me those hours didn't need to be spent. That my thoughts on the matter were complete at every given moment, and incomplete at the same time. But I was afraid to return to the Master without careful consideration. He was too intimidating - not in a threatening or patronizing way, but in a serene way that made me feel even more insignificant.
So I tried to clarify my thoughts to myself. Made a brief summary of my major points. Even wrote them down on a scrap of paper in case my nerves got the better of me
when I went back to the Master. After some careful editing of my word choices and sentence structures, I felt I was ready for the Master's scrutiny.
When I went back, he was in the middle of clearing his dinner table. He invited me to sit and eat, interrupting his own plans. It felt awfully presumptuous interrupting his time and taking up space in his home, but he seemed to think nothing of it. I was just another fly that the breeze had blown into his house, yet he made no attempt to swat me
"These are the things I was thinking about," I said and gave him a presentation of all my major points, as if explaining a PowerPoint at corporate headquarters
When I finished, I looked over to the Master. He had been silent throughout the presentation and I was thankful he didn't shoot me down
in the middle of it. But now I was afraid the real criticisms would begin
He looked back at me without reaction. It was a bit awkward.
I interrupted the silence, "What do you think, Master?"
"What do *you* think?"I should've known he would reply with a question
. "Well, those were the things I was thinking about for the past few hours and I wanted to know if you think I'm close."
"Do you think you're close?" He asked another question. "How satisfied are you with your own explanation?"
"I'm not sure," I replied. "Am I supposed to know
if my own interpretation was correct?"
"How would you know if my interpretation was correct?" asked the Master. "Who am I? Just some guy
sitting next to you by a table."
Great, I guess he was going to play the ignorance game
with me again. "Can't I just get your opinion on it anyway?" I persisted.
"You already have my opinion," he responded.
"No, about the always departing part."
"These are thoughts that are meant to spark journeys," he said. "Not destinations. My interpretation is as valid as yours."
"But you're not telling me your interpretation." I was trying not to sound exasperated
The Master paused for a minute. "I like your interpretation. But it is not about finding the right interpretation. The thought that sparked your journey is both the departure and the goal. It is because you spent your time thinking
about it, that the goal was achieved. We cannot know what views are correct, only that the process of thinking about them is correct."
I decided that was going to be the best I could have expected
out of him, given the results of our previous conversations. He provided the bullets, but never the target, nor even the gun.