Years ago, a friend of mine was going through hard times. We were young. He left the city where we lived and went to stay with his folks for a year before he moved away once again for some further education.
He lived in a basement. He wrote a book of poetry. He met me sometimes for a chat or to throw around the football.
Pain is a strange thing, as most of us know. Enlightenment can truly arise from its depths. Don't get me wrong, any of us would trade away the anguish in a second for some calm and joy. And his trials would pass, in time.
Anyway, one of my best glimpses of Zen came from those days--in the shadowy basement of a suburban bungalow--in a city just like any other. I guess my friend had ordered Chinese food, not wanting to cook one evening, and the food had arrived with one of those cheap scroll calenders that most customers throw out. You know, the ones that say it's the year of the tiger or whatever and then have a calendar beneath this info with a giant business card ad... i.e. the true motivation for giving the calendar in the first place. (Phew... I'm out of breath now). Well, this calendar hung on the wall for the whole year in my friends room.
Yup. The words and images faced the wall. And in tiny writing, barely discernible on the otherwise blank back of the scroll, was a barely legible sentence. It read: "Time does not exist."
And to this day I am sure that my friend was right.