“May I present my friend Don Alonso Quixano Bergoglio.” It was the most anyone had ever heard Yin say in such a long and drawn out fashion all by herself. She indicated the tall, handsome Latino beside her with a sweep of her hands, and he bowed, his Gaucho’s straw hat held to his heart.
“And Inacayalita.” Well, Yin had almost said something by herself. Yang did add to it in a complementary fashion as he beamed at the plump little Mocoví woman beside him.
“We met at the Zen Center.” All four of them said it in unison.
“Ah.” Arnold did a little channeling of Hari.
“Welcome. We’re just tossing around a some light conversation about the rational versus spiritual nature of humanity, good and evil, duty and passion; matters both cosmic and mundane.” Juno smiled at the newcomers. “Would you like some wine?”
“Or tea or coffee or food?” Arnold was up and bringing more chairs to the big table.
“I”d love some wine.” Alonso was tall. While one might have expected Yin to go for a guy who resembled Yang, someone who complemented her the way he did, that just goes to show that one never knows, don’t it?
Yang was soft, Yin was buff. Alonso was ripped, athletic, outdoorsy, a herdsman just as the twins Mongol father had been. Yang was wan, Yin dark ebony, Alonso the light tan of Castilian Conquistador. Yang was a rather effeminate man, even with the black spikes, Yin was a strong and tough woman, even with the earrings; Alonso was a stud muffin. His beard was trimmed to a perfect Van Dyke, his mustache curled with scented wax. They made a beautiful pair, something sculpted.
“Tea for me please, if you have it.” Inacayalita took Yang further into his pole of twinhood as well. She was small and round and sweet as pie, a woman with a perpetual smile. She was nearly as dark as his sister. Both of the Argentines had brown eyes.
“The twins tell us you’re related to Pope Francis?” Tante threw the statement out there as a question. Alonso might be the first real Christian she ever spent much time with. Her parents hadn’t really had any religion, and Tamminya had just handed her an old copy of a King James Bible and told her to read it, especially the New Testament, and Revelations for sure. She’d picked around through it here and there at best. She crapped out early with the begetting and found herself guffawing with the ravings that included the end times. The middle stuff she’d kind of picked through.
“Yes.” The twins said it in unison. The Bergoglio twins. They smiled at each other. Inacayalita nodded to her brother, who seated himself beside Yin and took a sip of wine.
“Our grandfather’s family has been in Argentina for several hundred years, they were among the original settlers from the old world in that region. He was a distant cousin to the Pope. Our mother was his only child and heir apparent to a Grade Ranquilo.” He smiled as Ina took over.
“But alas, Mamá fell in love with our Mocoví father, an indigenous man from the land between the Rios Berijo and Salado, the best gaucho in the whole country. He was a wild one, wouldn’t work the big ranches, just ran and hunted and fished with the old ones on the land.” You could tell she worshipped her father.
“When she became pregnant, our grandfather sent Mamá off to a convent and ordered the sisters to find foster parents for us. The shame of a daughter such as she was too much for his proud Castilian dignity.” If he hadn’t had been so cultured himself, Alonso would have spit.
“Our mother was in such a state of grief in having been sent to Buenos Aires and disowned by her father, she was very weak. She died giving birth to us.” Ina blushed. “Well, I guess the introduction is getting a bit drawn out.”
“No, please, go on! You’re a great story teller!” Ja was starting to cheer up quite a bit.
“Well, our mother did not survive and our grandfather told the sisters to do away with us. We were terribly premature, not likely to live anyway. Luckily, our father came for us. His mother was a shaman, and when she learned that she had grandchildren on the way she took matters into her own hands. We were carried from the orphanage in leather pouches filled with warm sea water and nursed with the milk of elephant seals.”
“We were raised by the crones of the Mocoví until we reached puberty. It so happened that our grandfather died that year as well and we inherited his property. The Jesuits and Sisters served as our guardians until we came of age. We spent the next decade being educated in the ways of the dominant culture, and the next after that learning even more, in a variety of places.” Alonso paused and took a breath. “We learned the ways of that culture that brings us all together here now.”
“And what makes you think there’s something that brings us all together in the here now?” Zeus was feeling super rational all of a sudden, defensive about it; perhaps it was the masculine pheromones wafting off of Alonso.
“We are also Dragons of Fomalhaut b, like our bonded ones, Yin and Yang.” Ina beamed.
“We’re couples.” The four part harmony was nice. Tante had her minstrels.
“Synchronicity?” Juno figured she’d throw it out there.
“Ah, are we to add Jung to the mix in our discussion of what brings us all to the here and now? Rationality? Spirituality? Alchemical Psychology?” Zeus still had the big flirt going on with Juno. They’d been playing footsie nonstop since his last monolog.
“How about spirituality? How about the cosmic order of things and special purpose and how that fits in with living life?” Ja’s time outside seemed to have worked wonders for his processing of the weekend. “I’ve been thinking about what Hari said and things my mother taught me, and what I’ve come up with goes something like this: Time is not real, self is not real, all is interdependent and entangled, all parts of a whole. The boundaries between self and other are those which we create, everything is ever evolving.”
“So how do to go from the infinite cosmic to living life in the ephemeral every day?” Zeus was indeed being a bit aggressive. Hormones.
“The recognition of the causes of those things that take away from the quality of life. That stuff you were talking about before, flourishing, happiness. Why don’t we have those things? Why do we suffer? In a cosmic sense, nothing matters, we attach importance to material things or see certain states of being as undesirable. Better to be Zeus than Arnold, better rich than poor, smart than stupid…”
“Good than evil.” Tante had to throw that one in there.
Ja continued. “No, it’s not quite that simple. I’m just saying that it’s attractions and aversions and desires and fears are silly in the grand scheme of things. If we accept those things we cannot change, it makes life a lot easier.”
“What about changing those things we cannot accept, those things that can be changed?” Zeus was indeed fired up. “It’s fairly easy to attach importance to not having enough to eat.”
“Learn, look long and hard at the way things are. Take the path of the Bodhisattva, awaken to the call of the Yeti, develop the self in order to develop the whole.” Ja seemed to enter an alpha state as he spoke; his eyes were glazed. “Recognize that the conventional truth of day to day living produces the ultimate truth of the all, this is life on earth. This is it, the emptiness of essence. The here and now is identical and interdependent with the ultimate and forever, it’s all a matter of where your head’s at.”
“What about change? Might that not be what brings us together here?” Alonso looked at Zeus; they really were alike in a many ways. “What needs to change most in this world?”
“We need more generosity, more mindfulness, more patience, more joyous effort, more meditation, more wisdom. More love.” Ja smiled. “I could go on for a very long time. But then, my anarchist’s heart asks me how I can possibly tell others what we need? Even if what we need is more love?”
“What about good and evil?” Tante’s eternal question.
“There is no evil. There is vice. Vice comes from fear, anxiety, confusion.” It was all old stuff to Juno, the psychologist.
“Those things we felt in the bad haired one.” Yanaha commented.
“So how do we overcome vice?” Tante really wanted to know.
“We have to learn. Gain wisdom. Get insight into what needs to be done and do it.” The broken heart of the Yeti man was swelling with passion. “But I don’t know what to do!”
“It sounds a lot like what I learned in my studies of eastern spiritual thought,” Alonso had been a guest yoga instructor at the Zen Center “although I found it interesting how closely the teachings of Kongfuzi mirrored the patriarchal training I got from the Jesuits.”
“It’s interesting how some of the eastern spiritual thought interfaces with that of the Mocoví elders as well.” Ina sipped her tea and smiled. It was one of Yanaha’s special blends, good for lucid dreams. Ina was an herbalist who knew most plants by smell, if not by sight.
“Yes, well, as a young man, I had to have the indigenous ways ground out of me by the Jesuits.” He frowned. “I was polished like a stone, cultured in the social graces, strictly controlled by the rules and hierarchical order of the church. Obedience was the way, good and evil, reward and punishment.”
“Rules and Fascists and the Church.” Ja was appalled.
“Yes, and it was so different from the natural and spontaneous way of life we’d grown up with as children among the Mocoví. As children even the language we learned was so different, our thoughts were so primordial. Our lives were naturally lived in harmony with the universe.”
“The way of the old master was attractive. We Dragons of Fomalhaut b are very polar beings. It’s why we tend to come into this world as twins. The contrast between the ways of our parents’ people and the cultures in which we were raised fit those teachings like, well, like Yin and Yang fit me and Ina.”
“For me, it was a way to integrate the excellence and purity of moral virtue I’d learned in the rigid rules of the church with the power and light of the cosmic whole, the natural world that the shamans had shown me as a child. It allowed me to examine the projections and reflections of myself and others. I came to recognize how language is not up to dealing with reality sometimes, my childhood language was so different, and that the naming and categorizing and rewards and punishments of the culture I encounter as a teen and adult are wanting, something artificial. It helped me to see that my natural instincts towards justice and kindness and virtue are effortless; they don’t require the rituals of the church, I didn’t need to confess meaningless sins or eat of the body of Christ.” Alonso was looking upward at the nothing a few feet in front of his face.
“I love the way Chinese thought integrates with the cosmic view I’ve gained through my shamanic work and the counseling I do at Zen retreats.” Ina took over. “Our emptiness, that vast place of the great beyond, it leaves us full of incredible potential. Our impermanence is what makes our life in this realm so important. We’re part of Gaia, like water, we just flow. Ramble without destination. Experience reality exactly as it is, we can learn effortless channeling of the right thing to do.”
“Really?” Tante was intrigued.
“Do you dream much?” Yanaha asked as she poured another cup of her brew and handed it to Tante.
“Yes, all the time, vividly, in great detail.” She smiled.
“Do you fly in your dreams?” This time it was Ina who asked.
“Sometimes. It’s one of the ways I can tell if I’m dreaming or not. I can’t fly when I’m awake.” She was really grinning at that point.
“Are you awake now, or dreaming?” Ina.
“I’m awake.” She was sure of it. She could taste the tea, was enjoying meeting new friends.
“Who is Zoldak?” Ina was staring at her now, intently.
“Wow, you’re good.” Yanaha cut the tension by distracting Ina.
The little woman beamed. “Yeah, I’ve been out there pretty far for a long time. I do a lot of work with Ayahuasca. A little bit of Salvia.”
“Oh, I like peyote. We’ve also travelled with the Sage One, and the mushrooms here in Forest are very nice.” It seemed Yanaha and Ina were colleagues of a sort in the love of botanicals and other medicinals.
Tante seemed to be recovering from a little doze. For a minute she’d thought she was a butterfly.
“No, the secret to finding the way is to look for the empty space. The path through the forest is where the trees aren’t. The way to go is that which your instinct tells you effortlessly, the way that is not forced.” Alonso smiled.
“Anarchy!” Ja smiled, too and did a fist pump.
“I believe there is such a thing as duty, the duty to live in harmony with others in society, which is one’s innate instinct, to have concern for the whole. But you’re right, duty cannot become a prison.” He tweaked the twirl on his mustache. It was gorgeous. He wrapped his arm around Yin.
“And now we’ve found love.” She kissed his neck just below beardline.
“Now we are complete.” Yang pulled Ina down on his knee and bounced her.
“Yes, you guys did say that you were going to tell us about escape from the chains of birth and death.” Tante was taunting the twins, t’was in good fun. ”Falling in love has definitely worked wonders for both of you.” She grinned at them. Love was blooming all around, springtime on the coast.
“Well, our chains of birth were definitely to each other.” Yin had gotten downright verbose.
“We were so focused on the self of Yang and non-self of Yin.” Yang, too.
“That we failed to see the all.” All together now.
“Our constant engagement with each other led to conceptions, deceptive abstracts superimposed on self, based on the other.” Yin.
“We were so focused on the center between us we failed to see left or right.” Yang.
“Until we fell in love and saw the others.” They turned from each other toward their beloveds as they said it, a rolling of the Taijitu into half.
A drop of water holding the reflection of the Pacific Coast sunset rolled down Alonso’s wine glass and was gone.
“So it ties back in with being part of a cosmic whole. Each one of us a piece of a grand puzzle, interdependent, ever changing, evolving together, flowing through time.” Haile loved picking out patterns.
“And there’s no time but the present.” Ja.
“But the present is made from the past and determines the future. It’s what makes right action and wisdom so important, cosmic plan or no cosmic plan.” Zeus was taking the action of offering his hand to his lovely partner, ready to lead her off to a nice spot on the beach.
“Well, let’s save cosmic plans for tomorrow. I’m tired.” Tante managed to say it without any whine at all. The old crone was slipping.
"And the chains of death. The twins spoke of the chains of their birth. I will speak of the chains of death. Another day.” Haile.
The End is Near