The ball of doubt does not have to be something that weighs us down or chokes us. It can easily be a release into mystery and intimacy with that mystery.
Is it the flag that moves? Is it the wind that moves? How is it that your mind meets the wind and the flag? Meets Neruda here, now, and settles with those questions without self-consciousness? In the naiveté of just turning towards the mystery that essentially is resting in front of us no matter where we lay our eyes or turn our ears, the mystery is infinitely eloquent. Last night, after evening zazen, many of you walked into the wonderland of the moonlit forest, having your eyes pierced and heart ravaged by the beauty of these trees, where every branch, every movement, every crack, every bit of pressure of your footsteps on the snow, was asking a question about the nature of this life. And at the same time responding without hesitation or holding anything back or concealing anything. When we turn and are willing to press with those questions into reality, the world opens up.
The monks were talking about the nature of movement. “The flag is moving. Obviously. It’s an ontological truth. My eyes are not deceiving me. That object is moving; it’s a direct perception of my capacity to see and discern.” “No! Obviously without the wind, the flag cannot move. It’s the wind which is the nature of motion. Without it, the flag cannot do what it’s doing.” We can imagine how the argument can expand. What precisely in the material of the flag is moving? Is it the threads? The fibers of the threads? The atoms that are making the fibers? What is the cause for the movement of the wind? Obviously it is the thermal disturbances tied up within the movement of the earth itself and the shear factors in the atmosphere. Maybe the physical presence of those two monks underneath the flagpole is somehow contributing to the fluctuations of the air molecules that are causing the flag to move.