These notes supplement the entry on Wattlpad about what I saw on Saturday, October 24, 2009.
Here is what I wrote on a piece of paper as I looked between the trees that morning.
wéi (movement/change/making (?) space)
wú wéi (great sound—nameless—colorless)
are all aspects of
becoming, i.e., dào
wù a musical note/a color
I won’t bore you with translations of the Chinese words, which all come from the Dàodéjīng. Instead, two other pieces I wrote may provide better context.
First, I can see now that “vast” is the key to my feelings. Through the word “vast” I was linking my experience to section 25 of the Dàodéjīng, which had affected me sufficiently that I did my own rendition in English.
Something forming in the murk.
Growing prior to heaven and earth.
Standing on its own, yet not changing.
Walking all around, yet not exhausted.
It may serve as the mother (mǔ) of heaven and earth.
I do not know its name.
If forced to say its street name, I’d say “dao.”
If forced to make up its proper name, I’d say “vast.”
If vast, then fading.
If fading, then far.
If far, then near again.
Therefore, dao is vast.
The heavens are vast.
Earth is vast.
The people are also vast.
Within this realm there are four big things,
And the people dwell there as one of them.
People model themselves on the earth.
Earth models itself on the heavens.
The heavens model themselves on dao.
Dao models itself on that which is so on its own (zìrán).
Second, my experience with the gap in the trees and my attempt to verbalize it reflect the thoughts I’d been developing in my journal about space, which I continued the next day.
Don’t think of space as defined by walls, edges, etc. Rather space defines walls, etc. Walls, edges, all sorts of borders emerge out of space.
The space one sees is not space. It is filled with things, between which there is space, which we can’t see. As Melville says in Moby-Dick: rainbows do not visit clear air.
Can we see the space between the stars? Through a glass darkly.
There is more space at night. Light takes up space. Xuán (dark) is not mysterious. Space is just dark.
Then, light is …?
Light is the absence of space, with reservations on the copulative and the nouns.
On the contrary, there is no such thing as more or less space, just space or no space.
Light is the absence of space. Space is dark. Dark is vast, open, big (dà), big sound.
A musical note is the absence of big sound.
These notes are good examples of why we should not believe everything we think. Yet, such musings are why I started the project that has turned into this drivingwithnohands blog.