The calendar is our calendar. We are guardians of our own time that the universe and billions of galaxies have no part or play within. Here’s the current date under consideration: February 14-15, which will seemingly be so as long as we are so. Briefly: (1) thirty years ago – 2/14- planet earth’s picture was taken from space – a tiny blue dot suspended in an unfathomable space of blackness; (2) Valentines Day since the mating orgies of ancient Rome’s Lupercalia, to St. Valentine’s Day of the 5tth Century CE, to the French Duke of Orleans’ letter to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London, which referred to her as his “very gentle valentine” on the date of 2/1415 and thus the beginnings of England’s 2/14 Valentines day; and (3) the Mahayana Tradition, called Parinirvana, that celebrates Buddha’s death and complete passage to Nirvana on 2/15; at age 80 Buddha dies somewhere between 410–370 BCE, with his Enlightenment spirituality becoming a cultural phenomenon between 150BCE—100BCE.
I’m probably the first to join these three. And there is good reason, which I’ll try to show. In each case we are dealing with a dimension of WITHIN AND EMBRACE. This will be a brief summary and connection, as all three have exquisite existential histories. The Blue Dot of Planet Earth is deep within the darkness of space, it is Goldilocked within the sun’s domain and thus is within the solar system and on and on as a miniscule blue dot WITHIN unfathomable space and darkness – and mystery. Whatever happens – happens within. And, love – romance – deep affection — come from within and happen within relationships. Without this within dimension of love we would not be human. Love and care come from within and two lovers reciprocate that feeling from WITHIN as being WITHIN BOTH. The heart is WITHIN.
From those WITHINS we come to The Buddha. There is so much in this tradition. Here, I will dwell on one major motif of Buddha’s Enlightenment as I comprehend it. Namely, the decision to find all the virtues, nobility, and antidotes to life’s poisons – WITHIN yourself. Don’t rely on tradition or dogmas out of the past. It is within you as you live to break the cycles of birth-death and rebirth and create ceremonies of this spirituality. With this comes enlightenment WITHIN and the grasp of one’s soul as a counterpart within the Cosmic world. So many understandings of Nirvana as both the ultimate “uncovering” of what’s to be “released.” Nirvana was The HOLD before any “i” was born within it and will be the HELD of all thereafter. Spiritual liberation is being able to live within one’s own life in the knowledge that all will be “blown-out” and attaining that enlightenment to freely die into that void. So, most of the discussion of nirvana is about being “without” this and that and living beyond the poisons and suffering – and the life eventually to be without. The Buddha monks are without all but their manifestation of this spirituality: they get all life’s nourishments from WITHIN their society’s gifts. Nowhere have I found the WITHIN of Buddhism as discussed here. However, one of nirvana’s core definitions is “to uncover” – and that happens within as both a state of mind and activity of the mind. (The Greeks used the term “Aletheia” for the uncovering of what is truth.) Afterall, we are “inside” talking about En-light-en-ment! And like Buddha we, too, will be released and “blown-out.” Bottom Buddha line: within/without//without/within—without/within//within/without. All withouts are found within. The ultimate without of life is the extinguishing of one’s within. So, one could say, that nirvana is the union of without and within. True enlightenment uncovers this in a person while living “within” the reality of it.
Seeing the Blue Dot Earth is grasping its Manifestation within all existence and we within it. Sharing one’s heart of love and compassion is living within the Epiphany of love within US. Experiencing the deep soul of suffering with all else that is within is to attain the spiritual liberation of conscious Enlightenment. – So, what to call this time of celebration with these three entwined: this WITHIN US TIME of Planet-Heart-Candle – that we can’t live without? Ahhh! THE WITHINION!