From the earliest recorded myths to the latest scientific cosmologies, we have speculated and theorized about the origins of the universe, of life, of species, of language, and so on. But no matter what stories we tell about the past, it’s a present problem that precipitates our storytelling and our inquiry. The origin of inquiry is closer than your jugular vein, to steal a metaphor from the Qur’an. It’s the human bodymind exploring its own presence here and now by tracing it back to the past. The first step in your quest is always from where you stand.

I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,
In the day among crowds of people sometimes they came upon me,
In my walks home late at night or as I lay in my bed they came upon me,
I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution,
I too had receiv’d identity by my body,
That I was I knew was of my body, and what I should be
      I knew I should be of my body.

— Walt Whitman, ‘Crossing Brooklyn Ferry’

Within this fathom-long sentient body itself, I postulate the world, the arising of the world, the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the cessation of the world.

— a Pali text quoted by Rahula (1974, 42)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.