The blog was listed recently in the Feedspot “Top 20 Spiritual Wellness Blogs, Websites & Newsletters To Follow in 2019“. I am glad if the blog is a support to people and I thank all of you who read so faithfully or who are already following. You might like to check out the other sites which made the top 20 and find rich material to nourish your inner self this week.
Think in ways you’ve never thought before…
When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.
Robert Bly, Things to Think
A Japanese Zen story about responding to whatever happens in the present moment with acceptance, or about observing troubling emotions with kindness. Like all of these stories it functions on a symbolic level, challenging us to open up to new ways of living when faced with surprises and disruptive situations:
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours in the village as one who lived a pure life. Then a beautiful girl in the village became pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who was the father. At first resistant to confess, the anxious girl finally pointed to Hakuin, whom everyone revered for his pure life. When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter’s accusation, he simply replied “Is that so”
When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a outcast by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child. It was now his responsibility. He said simply “I see” and calmly accepted the child.
For many months he took very good care of the child until the girl could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened. “Is that so” Hakuin said as he handed them the child.
Hakuin Ekaku, 1686 – 1769, was one of the most influential figures in the history of Zen.
The Japanese, Sōdesu ka, translated normally as “Is that so” can also be rendered as “I see”
Once a young woman said to me, “Hafiz, what
is the sign of someone who knows God?”
I became very quiet, and looked deep into her
eyes, then replied,
“My dear, they have dropped the knife. Someone
who knows God has dropped the cruel knife
that most so often use upon their tender self
Hafiz, Persia, 1315 – 1390
One kind word can warm three winter months
I think of Gloucester, blind, led through the world
To the world’s edge by the hand of a stranger
Who is his faithful son. At the cliff’s verge
He flings away his life, as of no worth,
The true way is lost, his eyes two bleeding wounds–
And finds his life again, and is led on
By the forsaken son who has become
His father, that the good may recognize
Each other, and at last go ripe to death.
We live the given life, and not the planned.
Wendell Barry,A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997
Very wet and windy this morning, the beginning of of a storm. The news today is full of agitation and uncertainty, including Brexit, Ukraine, migration and the lack of vision of our “leaders”. Where can we find a firm ground?
O to be self-balanced for contingencies,
to confront night, storms, hunger,
ridicule, accidents, rebuffs,
as the trees and animals do
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass