After the city burned, the diamond cutter walked through the forest looking up at the trees and watching the smoke drift high overhead. It felt as though the burning smell would never leave her body and she wanted to wash it away.
During my morning meditation today I had a little epiphany about the imagination. Sitting is often hard work, more like a gym workout than a blissful interlude, because the conscious mind is so strong. Some days you fight it and others it relaxes eventually. The good days you might say. Today, after it decided to relax and let me do my breathing without too much distraction, I realized that I could control this thing somewhat, could use it to conjure things, any things.
The opening image came to mind. A woman walking in a forest after a catastrophe, the burning of the city. We know she is a woman, a diamond cutter, though I do not know what that means, and that the terrible smell of burning pervades her being. I can imagine what is burning.
A diamond cutter can mean several things. First, a jeweler, a person with highly developed skills who can turn a rough piece of glasslike stone into a fount of light and color. In Buddhist texts a diamond cutter is a metaphor for a being who can cut through spiritual materialism, getting directly to the essence of things. I do not know which being my diamond cutter might be. She may find herself becoming both if the story continues.
We are in a story, possibly a shared mythology, with angry gods, merciless enemies, and both flawed and heroic humans. Yet it feels so mundane compared to the forest and the birds and the light and the rain. In a myth we might pursue a stag through such a forest and find ourselves lost and not caring.
This is where time stops and we find ourselves here, watching news, comparing the statistics of death and suffering, and making another cup of coffee. All this destruction, and most of us sit at home, cooking and eating, having a nightly cocktail, commiserating or laughing over the phone, and wondering if things will ever actually change.
This uncertainty is pervasive. I don’t know anyone who believes they know for sure what will happen next. The diamond cutter can’t tell us. She is walking and trying to clean out her senses, to find something in the sky above the trees that clarifies. It’s never that simple.