Horizons

“Push your horizons,”
My class teacher said
In farewell after
We graduated.
“Don’t lose your head in
Stacking up a score
Beating each other,
Till you’re blue and sore.
Find your own mountain,
Climb it at your pace.
When no one’s watching,
Why fear losing face?
With each new height,
You’ll slowly wisen,
See how you have a
Wider horizon.”

As I didn’t like her,
I didn’t heed her word.
Proceeded, instead,
To join a new herd.
I stacked up a score,
And always fell short,
Saw the world around
Crumple, distort.
At last, when I knew
I’ll lose my mind,
I sought the horizon,
Only to find
It so close that I
Felt suffocated.
For many days thereon,
Simply debated
Whether any of this
Had any Meaning
And soon realised,
Shit needed cleaning.

On a whim, next month,
During winter break,
I went on a trip
To a mountain lake.
Thirteen thousand feet,
Above sea level,
Our camp chose to have
A late-night revel.
From where we’d camped,
Few feet to the side,
A viewpoint opened
To a valley wide.
The vista was large,
The horizon far,
The night-sky crystal
With many a star.
I sat there looking
Into the moonlight,
Hoping for a sign
Or a small insight.
I did feel free with
All the space around.
Eyes had perspective
And the mind was sound.
“This is what she meant
All those years ago,”
I thought as my tears
Just started to flow.
“If you could somehow
Make your mind expand
As large and wide as
This stretch of land,
You’d have more freedom
To be the real you,
And find some Meaning
In whatever you do.”

I let my mind then
Adjust to the change,
But soon enough, I
Found a thing strange:
Wider horizons
Changed not just the land,
I had not noticed
The night-sky expand.
“The higher you climb,
The thinner the air,
The easier then
To locate the rare
Stars that were hidden
By gases and light,”
My mind was shouting
This divine insight.

The insight gave birth
To no neurons new.
But stronger ties were
Forged among a few
That had been around
For many years now
Helping me discern
The what, why, and how.
While I say this with
No authority,
Some anonymous
New maturity,
Declaring itself
To me, it revealed:
“The mind is more than
A widening field.
It is, in fact, if
Properly treated,
Jigsaws awaiting
To be completed.
Ideas, as countless
As luminous stars,
Can be connected
With enlightened bars,
Forging so many
Constellations new,
Changing however
You command them to.”

Here was my Meaning,
I marvelled with tears.
“A worthy Journey,
To be on for years.
Always keep seeking
For something to learn.
Something that stirs you
To wonder and yearn.
Keep finding new stars,
New dots to connect.
Keep challenging your
Current intellect.”

Seven years since, and
A few months ago,
This insight came back
Like a wake-up blow,
As I sat _zazen_,
Quieting my voices,
Evaluating
Some of my choices.
I knew why I was
In such a furore:
I had been again
Stacking up a score.
I’d strayed so much
I could no longer see
The Journey that had
Been revealed to me.
I opened my eyes,
I took up my pen,
And again resolved
To return, in Zen,
To the Journey that,
For me, holds Meaning,
Where every step is
A new beginning.