Yesterday, after sharing a midday Thanksgiving meal, I tagged along with a friend as she took her dog – a year-old Belgian Malinois named Koan – for a walk. On this particular afternoon we went to a dog park: a fenced-in area where Koan could run and play with other dogs. Because the area was fenced-in, there was no danger of the dogs running off, so it was easy to just hang out chatting with my friend and/or follow my own stream of thinking …
Being there brought to mind other dog-walks, in more open unfenced areas, with this friend and with others, when the use of a dog-whistle was at times called for. And how dog-whistles are such fascinating things: you blow into this little device, and hear nothing, yet the dog almost invariably comes running and – in a matter of seconds or minutes – appears there at your side. How miraculous!
Nothing & Something
How does this seemingly miraculous event come to be? I blow into the dog-whistle, and hear nothing. So the mind – unable to perceive directly (via the human auditory apparatus) the frequency of the whistle – concludes: “Nothing is happening.” But then the dog comes, so from this repeated outcome the mind can at least infer that the whistle is indeed effective, i.e. that “Something is happening” – some causal mechanism is at play — in a realm beyond what mind can directly perceive.
Read more: The Tenets of Valid Cognition
But what if I had never heard of a dog-whistle, and just happened upon one, one day. Perhaps because it looked like a whistle, I would blow into it. But upon hearing nothing, would it occur to me that something was actually happening? Probably not. I would need a friend to say to me, “Yes, this whistle will indeed work, to call your dog back home.” I would need a friend to encourage me to try it out, to explore this mysterious device, to conduct the experiment, so that over time I could notice its effectiveness.
Read more: Diagnosis & Direct Perception
The God Whistle
So then – back at the dog park with my friend and her dog Koan – I was gifted with this koan of my own:
Is there a God whistle? And if so, how does one blow the God whistle?
Through The Looking Glass
Ha ha ….. The first “answer” that arose was a memory: of being bored in a college class, and as a way of alleviating this boredom, deciding to take notes in a mirror-image form, i.e. from right to left on the page, with the words and letters inside-out, if you will – or backwards, so that only by holding the page up to a mirror would the text appear in a way that my eyes and mind were accustomed to reading it.
Turning The Light Around
And then, coming back to the notion of a God whistle …. Blowing the God whistle is the “moment” of what Taoists refer to as Turning the Light Around: of looking for and then seeing the (non-phenomenal) Seer; to directly perceive the no-thing of Pure Awareness. This is a kind of perceiving that is invisible to the ordinary dualistic mind – similar to how the sound of a dog-whistle is inaudible to the human ears/mind. The important difference is that while the frequency of a dog-whistle is still within the realm of phenomena; the seeing of Pure Awareness (aka God) is wholly non-phenomenal.
And the Guru – the spiritual guide – is like the friend who introduces us to a dog-whistle, saying (to our minds and deeper wisdom simultaneously): “I know this might not make much sense right now, but trust me – It works!”
So then we take the leap and blow the God whistle – and lo and behold ….