Sansaku: At the Border
In fantasy and life, there’s borders and gates and guardians. The inner world is made outer, and the outer world inner. The concrete walls are symbolic and real. And whether it’s the cell membrane or Mexico, there are watchers at the crossing. Who gets in and who gets out; they tend to ask one question, “What are your intentions?”
It’s the same question the father-of-the-bride asks the groom before he’s given the blessing. “What are your intentions?” There’s really only one acceptable answer, “To love as best I can.”
When I started teaching theory classes in counseling, I noticed the injunction to be open and real, not fake. It’s not a rule, it’s an intention. What makes therapy work is the way we set intentions, like being open and real; it’s why we discuss confidentiality and trust.
Rather than walk a trail from one end to the other, start to stop, Lee headed for the center of the circle and we made basecamp there. We often stayed close to a month. We wandered in all directions and slowly spiraled out and back each day.
His intention was to get as far and to stay as long as possible in the wilderness. He picked his absolute favorites, those high country benches just below timberline and close to water.
I see Best Slowly as the base camp and Sansaku as the drift we took each day, but I’m reminded of a cartoon. A newly hatched chick looks around and says to the other, “This answers a lot of question.” The other looks around and says, “What kind of a world is this?” They haven’t yet asked the question, “What kind of a bird am I?” I’m the kind who crosses borders.
I watch as the blog emerges and takes on life. Each sansaku is like a new generation of fruit flies. I’m looking for genetics and mutation. It’s a conscious evolution. Reading what I’ve written yesterday and last year, I get feedback, make revisions, and remember my intention.
Last year I read in my journal about wanting to persevere and sustain. I’d read somewhere that the practice is the path and I wanted to find a good base camp. I wanted to go as far in as I could and then stay as long as possible. Not to have done, but to do.
Twain said that everyone wanted to have read the classics, but nobody liked to read them. When it came to writing, he gave a similar statement. People want to have written a book, but they don’t like writing them. You have to love the writing.
Candace Pert died four years ago. She’s the one who discovered the opiate receptors in the brain and given all the attention addictions are receiving these days, it might help to review. She helped change the way the brain is conceived by explaining how our thoughts and chemistry communicate with cells and change them. It matters who knocks at the door and what keys are used to enter.
Endorphins are the endogenous bliss-makers in the psyche and we can really screw it up. Since drugs have forged a bliss-like key, they fit the natural receptor, but the intentions are suspect. There’s a crucial difference between ritual and abuse. The border guards will shut the bliss-gates down. To keep out the bad, we keep out the good.
Pert called neuropeptides the molecules of emotion, and when Bill Moyers asked her, “Are you saying the brain talks to the body?” She answered, “What makes you think the brain and the body are different?”