As we edit the manuscripts of our lives, we make notations for purposes of clarification and change as our ever-evolving perceptions open new vistas to explore. Each notation is called a gloss, and each gloss is the seed of thought.
A gloss is a brief, explanatory note or translation of a difficult or technical expression usually inserted in the margin or between the lines of a text or manuscript. A glossary, therefore, is an expanded version of such notes. This is an important concept, because I find that I can't define anything in any language, which means I can't approach anything directly through language. Words, at best, are only metaphors for that which I can't grasp or explain, because they go beyond language to the center of the Universe, which encompasses all metaphors—all words. "In the Beginning was the Word."
Laotzu, the Chinese philosopher, who is said to have been immaculately conceived by a shooting star, carried in his mother's womb for sixty-two years, and born white-haired in 604 B. C., understood that no word can be defined. He wrote:
Existence is beyond the power of words
Terms may be used
But are none of them absolute.
In this sense, while most of us attempt to use life by trying to open the Universe to ourselves, Laotzu opened himself to the Universe. This is but saying that while we seek positions of outer authority from which to control our surroundings, Laotzu lived from a well of inner authority, which he simply placed at the disposal of Universal harmony.
Although I have not yet achieved such harmony, I have, in trying to "define" my inner Universe within the greater context of the outer Universe, struggled with such concepts as suffering, experience, change, and wisdom. It is in struggling to understand these concepts at the pivotal junctures in my spiritual evolution that I made notations in the margins of my autobiography.
You and I are writing and rewriting our autobiographies every day. In so doing, we are making editorial notations in the margins or between the lines of our daily texts as our perceptions— which reveal our understandings of life's script—come from yet another point of view. It's my notations, my glossary if you will, that represents some of the critical junctures in my life as I have endeavored to grow in both the secular and the spiritual. I find that each gloss not only has been central to my life at one time or another but also has become a fascinating, ever-changing kaleidoscope of perceptions and illusions of the Truth.
It is, after all, the Truth I seek. In this, as in the whole of life, whether we know it or not, whether we accept it or not, we all follow the same path, the path that leads to Truth, the path back to the Eternal Mystery from whence we came. And it's the notations in the margins of our lives that are the stepping-stones of understanding along the path
©chris maser 2006. All rights reserved.