The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The semester is coming to a quiet close this week, and I realize there hasn't been much free time to lift my head from the work path to take a look around. 

In the meantime, the Ginko trees have all lost their brilliant yellow leaves in one fell swoop, Halloween has come and gone without a smashed pumpkin in front of the house, and under the spell of imaginary importance, duty is the focus more often than not, convincing me that a luncheon date with a sweet friend can be postponed, a kind word does not have to be uttered, and lovingly shared, and the stabilizing effects of a daily meditation practice are ignored for a few days, stretching into more than a few days....until the body cries out for true rest, the heart calls out for healing connection, and the necessary focus becomes one of being healthy.

So, I'll take this moment to thank you, my body, for pointing out the obvious--we need sufficient rest that doesn't involve doing anything or attaining any goal.  We need acceptance when energy is low and great curiosity when energy is high. We need spaciousness.

I need space where I can finally look at a difficult colleague and truly see her, without anger, or the need to change anything about our interactions.
What I see is that she is deeply lonely, that out of this loneliness comes a howling hurricane that repels everyone, even those she loves. 

I need space to ask, what sort of a friend have I been to her in the past few months?

I need space to roam freely when the path is clear, and space to be still when the path is un-clear.  Clear or clouded, it still requires space.

I need a breath that shifts the dynamic of my thoughtless absorption.  That breath can be this breath.

If all is impermanent, awakening too, is impermanent.  It takes a continuous effort.  

Walking through an unfamiliar city several months ago, not feeling comfortable in the environment, or even in my own skin, I had an experience that shook it all up, leaving things spacious.  
My surroundings were slightly menacing and my heart was not at ease as I walked.  Where was I going?  What was I doing?

"Hey!", someone yelled. "Hey, put your head up!"  
From across the street, an elderly man was waving to get my attention.
"Lift up your head and look around!" he yelled, and then broke into a huge sun-beam smile.
I stopped abruptly, dumbfounded.  Was he talking to me? 
He made sure I saw him, waved again, and disappeared into a bar on the street corner.  

I began to walk again. I kept my head up that afternoon, and in so doing, lifted up my heart as well.  No longer solitary, I was connected in some fundamental way, through the grace of a stranger's love.
I walked that way for many days, and really tried to look at where I was going.  When looking became more of a habit, I released the effort.

Again, and yet again.
Someone, or something yells, "Hey, Lift up your head and look around."
Thanks, I'll pass it on!

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