So what is the Territory anyway? Speaking loosely in a shorthand way
you can say it is seeing the world through your own eyes just exactly the
way that it is. Not the way it's been described to you, not even the way
you describe it to yourself. Seeing the world just as it is. Just that.
Seems simple enough, but the thing of it is a lot of things get in the way.
I don't know about you but I've spent a whole lot of time not seeing the
world as it is. That's why I come to the Boaters Cafe whenever I can and
stay for as long as I do. Seeing the Territory and being in it is a lifelong
practice. It's not an idea; it's a way to be.
How to help you remember this? It's funny you know, a while ago I was
just like you, only different of course. I didn't remember a thing about
the Territory. Forgot about the Boaters Cafe. Didn't recall I knew anything
about boats at all. By the Great Pirate Chief, that's hard to believe! Boats!
That's all I really know anything about, only the way it was then I was
stuck in a time when I didn't remember a single thing about what I knew
best. Guess that's not unusual, maybe you're just the same way.
But how can I tell you about the Territory without telling you what to
see? Whatever I end up saying to you is just going to make it harder. Course
if I don't tell you anything it makes it harder as well. Impossible, the
whole thing's impossible. What a danger it is for both of us that my name
is Bonzai Yak. Maybe you better just close the book before it's too late,
really, it's more insidious than you'd think. Actually it's more of a hole
than a book, don't look now but things leak through between the words. If
I'm sitting here in the Boaters Cafe the way that I've said, a bit of the
Territory might just slip through to that safe private space where you're
reading from now. Worse than that, you might slip through yourself going
the other way and end up somewhere else entirely from where you are now.
Maybe that's not a such bad idea. Give it a try and see. Let go of yourself
for a moment or two and slip through this book that I'm writing for you,
between the words and on through the hole. Act as if you believe for a moment
that you're suddenly sailing all alone in a boat on a vast open sea. You
don't remember how you got on board, but still you have a faint memory of
a time when you sailed with others this way in some far away place quite
But all there is now is the wide open sea. Take a moment and try to picture
it. Perhaps the waves are rolling by, the sun high above is strong and bright,
its light sometimes sparkles in the water drops that splash the top of the
bow. The boat is rocking up and down in a gentle way. The wind is blowing,
the sails are full, the clouds in the sky are just rolling by. The sea extends
extensively, there's a vast expanse that you can't even see on past the
round horizon. Still, even so, you know it's there, you can feel something
moving just below the edge, rolling with waves in the very same way that
the boat you're in rocks to and fro....
You begin to get an intuition of the massive wholeness of the entire
ocean. There's definitely a huge entire shape, something much more than
you can see in your one small boat in your small piece of sea. But can you
see it? Can you see the whole ocean? This one small wave must be a small
piece, this puff of cloud is a piece as well, the wind and the sail that
catches the wind, the sound the wind makes as it rushes on past, the smell
that it leaves in its wake; the heat of the sun, the tilt of the mast, the
bow of the boat that rides on the swells and the fish that swim underneath.
Even though you know that everything you see (and can't see) must be part
of some large and completely whole ocean, how can you see the whole ocean
just floating there right in the middle of it?
Okay, fine, that'll get us started, so leave the boat and the ocean behind
and slip back through to the everyday place where you're reading this page.
It's the same right there where you are right now, isn't it? There's something
whole and completely vast all around the edges of your own private self.
But it's so vast and completely whole that it's hard for you to see it at
all when you look in the usual way. When you let yourself go in the way
you just did, you get a quick glimpse from the corner of your eye and you
get the feeling there's something right there that you never quite see because
you're completely inside it. Like a fish in water you just swim along never
thinking at all of the medium. That's the Territory you're swimming inside...
well maybe you're not like a fish after all, maybe it's more like some of
the water you're swimming inside took the form of a fish for a while just
for fun. Water swimming in water, that's closer I bet. Whatever it is, it's
Slippery too, just like the fish, and me I'm talking bare-handed here, no net to get in the way. Gotta find some way to get the fish to jump into the boat on its own. Gotta go real slow in a round about way - there's still lots more I need to say about the Territory; so listen, why don't you come a little bit closer and make yourself comfortable. Could take a while to talk this way and I'll tell it much better if I don't have to yell through the whole of the book. You slipped through the hole in the page very well just a moment ago when we talked of the sea, so why not come here to the Boaters Cafe and sit for a while with me. Plenty of room for you to sit down and we've got all the time in the world in here. So let yourself go like you did before, slip inbetween the words on the page and join me here at my table.