The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Sound of Muck Pulling My Boots Off...Guess I'll Go Barefoot

There are times when, in the face of suffering and pain, I feel perfectly mute. I feel ineffectual, bound, impotent.  What am I "doing" to alleviate suffering, to make a positive difference in the world?  
And here is a familiar juncture--I can choose which path to take.  If I pay too much attention to the ego/conditioned self, everything comes to a grinding halt.  (Accompanying screech of metal on metal!) 
 Gone the easy stride, the swinging arms, the set of chin over squared, relaxed shoulders, the heart of wonder....I've decided to slog through the swamp of ego muck (again), and now I'm stuck (again).
Or, I can choose to look at those feelings of inadequacy, to open them up to the light of day.*  
What helps me out of the muck?  Oftentimes, it's simply sitting.  Sometimes in meditation, the tears drip into the cup of my hands, held in the cosmic mudra.  I come back to the breath.  
If I ask, What is this?  there is usually an answer.  An answer of quiet compassion from the true self.  No judgement, no rush, no agenda--simple compassion and wisdom. 
This morning the answer is, The practice is enough. It is so much. Being is enough, not always "doing".  

*See Free Your Mind; The Four Directions of an Awakened Life, by Sensei Anthony Stultz 

* * * * * * *


Nothing sings in our bodies
like breath in a flute.
It dwells in the drum.
I hear it now
that slow beat
like when a voice said to the dark,
let there be light,
let there be ocean
and blue fish
born of nothing
and they were there.
I turn back to the bed.
The man there is breathing.
I touch him
with hands already owned by another world.
Look, they are desert,
they are rust.  They have washed the dead.
They have washed the just born.
They are open.
They offer nothing.
Take it.
Take nothing from me.
There is still a little life
left inside this body,
a little wildness here
and mercy
and it is the emptiness
we love, touch, enter in one another
and try to fill.

Linda Hogan

No comments: