“Rounding” is one of the more interesting pieces to come our way. Essentially a memoir, Lee Neale’s unique imagery brings this unusual account to life.
By Lee Neale
Hachiko Square. Senses swarming with the immensity of bodies. Not knowing where to focus. Well-dressed energy warps around, and for all its pressing density it has a calmness. A purposefulness. Knows where its headed, wants to get there quickly. Floods the basin of Hachiko Square from its multitude of alley-streams all foaming in reflected neon.
But I’m this odd rock, all jagged at the edges, so the energy of the flow catches me and I tumble, tumble.
A Zen pebble I wish to be. Rounded so the stream whispers softly around. It‘s why I came here: to lose myself. To lose my boundaries, my ego — here in this densest spot in the densest city in the world, with its atoms so compacted as to be a single thought-form. Where better could there be? But rounding takes centuries, millennia and meanwhile I tumble, tumble.
“Been at this awhile,” my esoteric healer had spoken softly, as she smoothed my jagged energetic form. “A while.” And this of all times my last to enter the stream, yet still so jagged, jagged.
“Your rounding began a thousand years ago in Nikko, as a peasant with a fiercely intelligent and devoted Japanese wife,” she mused. “You first courted when the now giant Shimotsuke roadside pines were little more than arrogantly wavering saplings.”
This tumbling Dharmic jigsaw-piece whispered gently into my ear. This compulsion, ten centuries later to stop my car by the roadside and pick blooming spring flowers for my wife from among the pines. The compulsion to then push deeper into the forest and walk a narrow trail: at first for no reason.
But as the reek of boar stench hit my nostrils, I knew exactly why as I had known many centuries before, and I was tracking, tracking as I had once tracked, and backing, backing as I had once backed. For I instinctively knew, that I had crossed upwind of an ancient porcine adversary.
Exhilarated: my senses now sharp as the spear, which I had once hefted. The gulf of one thousand years snapping shut upon the moment. Upstream downstream one as it always is, but for the discrimination of the conscious mind. And this of all times my first to enter the stream. And this of all times my last to enter the stream. But still so jagged. Jagged and scanning with boar stench cloying in my sinuses.
Backing across a river to deprive the boar of my scent, upon the water-rounded stones I slip, falling into the flow again, again.
With soaking clothes, still scanning, scanning. Backing towards my car. A radiant mess of bouquet in hand. Deadly challenge snuffling timelessly at the forest-edge of my senses. Tumbling upon my jagged, jagged Dharmic form.
Recollection backs into Hachiko, with its atoms so compacted. But now I realize, Zen stone smooth or not, so long as I enter the stream, in it I will always tumble, tumble.
About the Author
Lee Neale is the founder of Shama Gaia. He’s an Australian-born sociologist, language teacher and Shamanic healer living in Japan.