Every life emanates outward

from Bardo

Krandall Kraus

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Every life emanates outward in all directions, through all perceptions of time. Like a solar system being born each life, each action explodes like the aster-shaped pyrotechnics on the Fourth of July, and the sound, the light, the debris, the odor of gases and liquids, the shock of its forceful waves reverberate and resonate, illuminate and inundate everything with which they come into contact. And because it emanates in all directions, nothing is left unaffected.

Every action one takes--each breath, every thought, all feelings--takes place simultaneously everywhere throughout the universe, not just here and now. One's actions and their consequences do not begin at one time and work their effects at a later time, like a train leaving Boston at noon and arriving in Washington at the dinner hour. A life doesn't live out on a line from one point to another; rather, it unfolds and encompasses like an ethereal dandelion.

Even quantum physics tells us this. Beneath the subatomic microscope, nuclear physicists have discovered that all matter exists only in potential. Only in tendencies, possibilities, probabilities. Isn't this how we experience our lives?


Doesn't every life unfold, one possibility at a time, only to reveal that all possibilities were present all along? Even the language is inept. "Present all along," as though we were tracking possibilities on a graph or a curve, plotting and enumerating events one after another along a straight or curved line. And yet this is the limited fashion in which we perceive our world. It is all we have, the best we can do. This is how we chart our lives&emdash;on the graph of Time.

Where then is one's life? Where is one's story? What is the beginning, the middle? How does one's life end? If there is not a storyline, a lifeline, how will one stand just the other side of the end of his life and take it all in? How can he encompass all of it at once? How shall he ever understand it?


There is only one way: to sit silently and let your life be within you all at once. To let the ethereal dandelion of your existence unfold within you in a single moment. To sit and concentrate on not concentrating. To simply be aware that you are sitting and that in that moment are all your moments. In that awareness exist no other awarenesses, all other awarenesses. Past and future are mental constructs&emdash;concepts we invent in order to comprehend the enormity of the universe, of existence, of It.

It can all be known in a single moment. It can only be known in a single moment, like the woman who steps up to the rim of the Grand Canyon for the first time and is overwhelmed by what she sees. Or the young mathematician who suddenly, for no explicable reason, comprehends the theory of relativity. Or the young father watching his first child being born. All of them, in their individual way, have experienced It in a single moment. Later, they might each describe the event as being "almost a religious experience." And so it was. So it is.



Krandall Kraus is author of numerous books, including the spiritual memoir It's Never About What It's About: What We Learned About Living While Waiting to Die (with Paul Borja) and the remarkable mystical novel Bardo, from which the above passage was excerpted (and edited). Both are published by Alyson Books.

Last update Sept 21 2000