In difficult times, you should always carry something beautiful in your mind.
Wise words for these difficult times in which we find ourselves--fiscal irresponsibility and mayhem at the hands of those we trusted, wars that are un-winable and exhaust the precious resource of human lives, a stressed planet that has seen it's hottest year in recorded history, the unraveling of human decency....Holding beautiful thoughts in mind is sometimes seemingly impossible. And who hasn't felt slightly foolish at times, even trying to find and keep beauty close at heart when things are such a shambles for so many people.
Yet it's exactly what we need, and exactly what keeps us from closing the heart-mind, from withering and being blown away like a dried leaf in a hurricane.
Don't forget, even a hurricane has a quiet, still "eye". Even in the midst of great conflict, of great suffering, our unborn buddha nature keeps us upright and vital!
Yesterday, as the sun began to set on yet another uncharacteristically frigid Autumn day, I passed a public park where street folk like to spend time. But in this weather, who could tolerate being outdoors?
Someone had asked that question, gone to the Dollar Store, and purchased several pairs of gloves, hats and scarves, and then draped them decoratively on a small shrub on a path into the woods.
I got out to investigate, and realized this was exactly what Pascal had in mind with his quote, a small, good thing, unceremoniously offered.
No one left a note, no one organized a fundraiser, no one had to release funds for miscellaneous needs--it was simply there.
This is exactly what keeps me upright!
This is exactly what opens the Heart of Prajnaparamitta, and puts a hum in the heart of the Bodhisattva Vow.
Over and over again, our fellow journeyers on the Way find the means to initiate compassion and offer it like a gift--as we accept this gift, whether we take a hat from the shrub, add another or simply hold the vision close within our hearts, we cycle the energy of the universe inward and outward, perhaps never knowing what this power sets in motion, like a crazy Rube Goldberg.
But if we pay attention, we realize this energy in every moment, in every breath! We breath it in, we breath it out, we send this love on its way, bolstered and amped up with even more love, our love.
Namu Amida Butsu!