I never explained where I got the title for this blog. It seems about time.
It was from a line in Wallace Steven’s poem “Of Mere Being”
The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
So what is this ‘palm at the end of the mind’? For me, it conjures the felt sense of what is often the remnant at that visceral moment when things get really quiet while sitting…that imperfection or holding back. That felt sense of something remaining solid when given a small taste of feeling truly present and connected with all beings…something not wanting to completely let go. Is it the ego? Is it the observer? Is it what is standing in the way of truly feeling free?
Or, is it something else?
Without it, the bird cannot rest on its branches and sing nor can the ever-changing wind move though its branches. It is just beyond the last thought of the mind as opposed in the thick of it and thus identified by it; rather it is serving as a support to nature’s practice.