I’ve been meaning to read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” for about two or so years. I haven’t yet arrived at the first digital page in my Kindle. It’s just sitting there, waiting to be held, caressed and listened to. The long list of books I have in my mind are a delicious bunch — Jamaica Kincaid’s collection of short stories is finally nearing its end and I couldn’t be happier. The story of The Hermit of Lotus Peak Taking Up the Staff, I believe, had the right idea. In order to avoid crashing and burning into his grand fight, he observed it from afar at first. Then, with reflection around the observations he made over time, he arrived and then departed like a butterfly touching the nose of its first unseeing child. A kind of meditation within its own meditation since to fight means to surrender one’s body to nothing and everything simultaneously.
“Flowers should be left to their own colors and their own graceful movement. They are the most graceful, living things on the planet.” Free from judgment and far from political treason, they conclude subtleties about the world around them on their own. Perhaps the Hermit of Lotus Peak was fascinated with the historical complexities of the lotus flower and never learned to properly let it go. This is an opinion—at best, an educated guess since I was not present at the mountain during his address.
“One sole independent activity.” During that trip before the last, I remembered so distinctly seeing, as if from an eagle’s eye view, a little girl crossed-legged sitting on dirt. She may have been overlooking a summit, but I couldn’t help but marvel at a long braid curving down her young and small back. She was erect, had a staff in her left hand, and was dressed in white. Focused on her own being, for her eyes were closed, she traveled deeply within to arrive at intrepid oceans, riding each one with ease. I was the eagle looking down, but I was also flying down towards the middle of her head fast. The closer I got, the more I felt bad for her, so I closed my eyes to delete the possibilities. I didn’t want her to die because she was so peaceful in her own state, undisturbed by this immense eagle or the imminent, bad weather. Her staff was so erect that even if the eagle had attacked her, the staff would have been able to carry her spirit back home. A flower warrior was in our midst.