Category: Silus

Mountains of the Moon

Southern reaches of Silus.

Dawn and Dusk

Silus was not a completely barren world. Near the polar caps, at the right time of the year, assuming one knew where to go and Von did, lush mountains and pristine lakes could be found.

Von would often sit from dawn to dusk watching the change in light and the beauty of nature unfolding in perfect solitude. Stillness calmed the soul and soothed the mind. Most Zing Tao would tell you after day fourteen, the mind and body settled on a new level as if reaching the floor of the ocean after gently floating down from the choppy surface above. The metaphor made sense. The feeling of isolation and peace seemed most like being underwater, floating in soundlessness within the great expanse of interconnectiveness.

In these moments, called by experienced Zing Tao, third-week insights, Von saw most clearly the mind as tool—an instrument to be used when needed and set aside when it was the wrong tool. Finding the off button, well, that was the challenge.

When he entered the order, Von never saw himself as anything other than one and the same with his mind and his thoughts. On Silus, however, the gap between the two, especially in the third week, became most discernible. It had always been there, much like the Milky Way does not disappear in the city, but time on Silus was like seeing the sky in complete darkness, or in this case the mind, from a place of absolute stillness.

In these moments of stillness Von swam in direct experience, a sense of no separation between himself and the experience before him—no filters, no layers, no opinions, no judgments, no concepts, no words or ideas. As soon as words appeared in his mind to describe what was happening, he immediately saw and felt separation and falseness. Learning to let the words drop, as if falling from the sky of his mind, he saw clearly again.

Von’s first reaction to this third-week insight led again to false view, or unskillful reaction as Zeke called it. He judged it and in the judging created the very separation he thought he had overcome. Quickly, he realized his folly; yet again the mind wormed its way in the backdoor in the guise of pride. Von saw that too and neither resisting nor judging allowed the mind to dance its dance. As often the case, the mind became bored and grew weary. And Von returned to the stillness of direct experience.

To know a matter, was one thing. To be able to assimilate the knowledge and apply it was quite another. What Dauculus had been for the order as a whole, the Javalina inquisitors had been for Von himself; namely, the opportunity to put into practice the lessons from the classroom. Without Silus, Von felt he would neither have survived his torture nor recovered after the event. As strange as it sounded to the average Hynerian, Von forever thanked his inquisitors, sending them as much compassion and love as he could. He truly had no hate, no bitterness in his heart.

Opening the door, Von walked into Kyra’s room and took a seat right next to her bed. She still slept, looking as peaceful as the mountain lakes in his memory. General alarm sounded. Von heard it and let it go. Rog would handle whatever the emergency was. He was needed here now; each to their own, in time and place, unfolding in the natural order. His time was now, and his place was here.

As if on queue, Kyra opened her eyes. “Where am I?” she asked.

“Exactly where you should be,” smiled Von.


Silus was the third Hynerian moon and location of Zing Tao annual solitary treks. Never inhabited, Silus remained pristine in its desert landscape and the perfect place for Ji to instill Zing Tao principles of perspective and humility.

The average Hynerian saw him or herself as the center of the universe, the point of reference to make sense of everything and everyone around them. This egocentric view, Ji knew, would be his greatest challenge in building the Zing Tao, especially his famed Blue Onyx division. Ji also knew training, sharpening the saw, would be a life-long process; hence, the mandatory annual twenty-one day sabbaticals on Silus.

This lack of perspective, Ji felt, whiplashed the average Hynerian emotionally and, emotions, misunderstood for what they were, would and could cloud judgment and literally hijack one’s life. Standing on the great plains of Silus, alone, tended to broaden one’s view, to impose humility and chip away at the delusions of pride that had a way of working themselves back into the mind with each accomplishment.

The foundation of Zing Tao philosophy rested on peace and compassion, both of which grew in the fertile soil of love. Without that soil, without love, there was nothing. Love, Ji taught, was expansive and inclusive. The ego feared it above all else and as such told lie upon lie about the true nature of the single force that bound all life. Ji used Silus as a tool to break through those lies.

Warriors tend to be very prideful and very hard on themselves in the goal of constantly improving their skills. This path, the path of most warrior cultures, stood outside the reality of love, and as such, undermined their ability to effect long lasting change and progress. Ji taught his Zing Tao to see the natural flow and swim in it rather than resist that which was. From love one came and to love one would return. Living a life in harmony with birth and death, living in love with acceptance and understanding of the natural order, knowing that in love birth and death were not two but one, well, that was the challenge.

Von profusely thanked the Zing Tao physicians for his recovery, but those who knew him best felt his time alone on Silus was the turning point in his life.

Now, all that he had learned in his long life, all that Ji and Zeke and Silus, and one might say even his Javalina inquisitors had taught him, all that understanding reached the crossroads of fate. Kyra had touched love, and she was so close to understanding yet not quite there. Purpose met opportunity. Von put away his shield, cleaned up the snoot, washed his face and headed down the hall to visit the one who needed him most, the very reason he was onboard—Kyra.


nnual 21 day treks on Silus, the barren desert Hynerian moon, were mandatory for all Blue Onyx Zing Tao. Ji believed strongly in time alone and time alone on a consistent basis.

Long after his retirement Zeke still took an annual solitary sabbatical. He always returned with a glow, a peacefulness, a grounding that touched those around him. In all his years he made only one exception to the solitary stipulation and Kyra was forever grateful for that extended time alone with Papa.

“Everything moves Kyra. Nothing sits still. Nothing is solid. Nothing stays the same. Only Love endures, only Love persists and only Love is. Remove the filters from your mind, see clearly and you will see only one thing–Love,” said Papa. “When you don’t see Love, my child, then you know you are deluded and there is work to be done. And Kyra, few of us see Love as it is.”

Only one thing, thought Kyra. Only Love. She wore that thought in her mind like the Blue Onyx ring around her neck–always. Only Love.