– About a romantic song played on the beach and about the illusion of self –
– Racin’ for the finish line –
This is the latest song John wrote here on the beach:
words and music by John Nelson
Racing for the finish line
tumbling faster all the time,
you hold a grudge for the unseen judge.
Have you had enough of the blind man’s bluff?
Gravity calls with relentless force.
It’s a test of will to ‘bide your course.
You blaze a trail like a stumblin’ horse
with a well of dreams and a load of remorse.
It’s a mystery; a fading history.
You’re alone, as you were born.
Racin’ and facin’ the finish line.
You’ve run the gauntlet of your good years,
You’ve won the prize: A crown of fears.
Have you made amends for selfish pride?
Are you strong enough for the long white ride?
To the ether of the starry sky,
We’ll see: you and me.
May you fly in a state of grace,
may you fly to a better place.
Have you left behind a reserve of love
to the ones below and the ones above?
Spread your wings while your song still sings.
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Still feeling out the ring of the words, he recited a few unfinished lines one morning when we were out fishing. A couple of days later, played with a simple, dramatic tune, ominous but somehow strangely lighthearted, it all made beautiful sense.
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Here is another quite unromantic, hauntingly peaceful view on the same familiar drama of facing the impermanence of our existence:
Body and Mind
When body and mind dissolve, they do not exist anywhere, any more than musical notes lay heaped up anywhere. When a lute is played upon, there is no previous store of sound; and when the music ceases it does not go anywhere in space. It came into existence on account of the structure and stem of the lute and the exertions of the performer; and as it came into existence so it passes away.
In exactly the same way, all the elements of being, both corporeal and non-corporeal, come into existence after having been non-existent; and having come into existence pass away.
There is no Self residing in body and mind, but the cooperation of the conformations produces what people call a person. Paradoxical though it may seem: There is a path to walk on, there is walking being done, but there is no doer. There is blowing of the air, but there is no wind that does the blowing. The thought of Self is an error and all existences are as hollow as the plantain tree and as empty as twirling water bubbles.
adapted from the VISUDDHIAGGA
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Klaus Feb. 14. 2010