On the drive back up to Santa Cruz from Southern California, we swept along Interstate 5 with sunbeams, washes of raindrops and the two solitary feet of a body-less rainbow. Genery asks what's been on my mind and Chuang-Tzu speaks with my mouth: "the wise one has a mind like a mirror--it receives every thing but retains no thing." Of course, as every wise man won't tell you, you already have the Buddha nature. Thus the mind must already be like a mirror--right now, this very instant.

Once there was a day when my mind was like a mirror. I lay in the grass with like-minded friends beneath a pine tree in Spring. Try as I might, I could not think a thought without one of my friends speaking it aloud in perfect unison with my internal voice. Some people babble unceasingly as if they have no internal monologue and must think aloud--this was a peculiarly inverted instance of this condition. Mind like a mirror, how clear the water runs! A stream of thoughts I once believed was my consciousness, but no! The stream runs swiftly past the grassy bank while I lay on the edge with my dripping hand raised an inch above the surface. There! the glassy surface gives back my own face--just an image, not the real thing. Then whose thoughts are these that I am having right now? And on the glassy surface was only the image of the trees and sky overhead.

From the green and yellow foothills that look like lions sleeping in the rain we drive through Gilroy and into the mountains between here and the coast. As the roads turn white with slushy hail, we argue about the difference between what is real and what is hallucination. Where do you draw the line? I would not be the first to say that the difficulty of proving an experience is a hallucination is exactly as difficult as proving it is real. I think she's afraid our difference of opinion is a threat to our relationship. I say that our love is not based on having identical opinions, hobbies, interests or professions--it's an emotional connection not an intellectual one.

Safe at home eating pizza watching the Sci Fi channel on TV. A show I've never seen called FarScape where the hapless crew is caught in hyperspace and switching between alternate realities (some resembling the more intense parts of a few trips). I hold my love in my arms and feel bliss and compassion course through us; the love I feel is overpowering and I briefly imagine how I'd feel if I ever lost her and this makes my heart swell even greater. On the television screen one character shouts at another in exasperation: "Real! Hallucination! Real! Hallucination! How can you possibly tell the difference?"