When we fall down

A student asked master Sozan, “The teachings say that everyone who falls down on the ground must stand up again by relying on the ground. What is the meaning of to fall down?”

Sozan said, “If you affirm the situation, that is the answer.”

The student said, “What is the meaning of standing up?”

Sozan said, “Just stand up!”

“What is it to fall down?”

Sozan, Chinese Chan/Zen master, died 606 AD

We think hitting the ground, knocking over the barrier is a mistake, but the ground we hit, the failure we experience is not a mistake. The world is endlessly mysterious, experience is profound to a degree that will always surprise us. But it is never a mistake. To foster even a meager appreciation of that (and when we’re in the midst of a fall, meager is pretty big) is to begin to practice… It is the decision to stop complaining and to start paying attention. Contained in the fall is exactly what we need to stand. Everything we need is available, but we have to invite it. What is it to invite reality? 

Bonnie Myotai Treace Sensei M.R.O, Dogen Cubed

Juggling your life

This is a poem for someone
who is juggling her life.
Be still sometimes.
Be still sometimes.

It needs repeating
over and over
to catch her attention
over and over,
as someone who is juggling her life
finds it difficult to hear.

Be still sometimes.
Be still sometimes.
Let it all fall sometimes.

Rose Cook, A Poem for Someone Who is Juggling Her Life

When routine blinds us

From one of my favourite writers…

Yesterday morning I was going through the routine. I was by the door, and since I knew that it would take the little angel some time to get into the car, I told her to get a head start. I pushed the button to open the door of the minivan, and went back to get the other kids pushed out of the house. By the time I came back outside, my little girl was in the car, in her booster seat.

In one smooth motion, I jumped in, slammed the door, buckled myself in, and was ready for the … driving routine to school. When I looked back in the rear view mirror, I saw my little girl in tears.

Slammed on the break. “Honey, what is wrong?” The sweet girl mentioned, “You didn’t notice it.”
My mind is racing. “Didn’t notice what, my love?”
She softly repeated, “You didn’t notice it.”
My mind is racing more, “I just want to want to get you all to the school before you are more late. You are in the car. I am in the car. We are all in the car. Do we really need to talk about this now?”

I park the car. I turn around, and face her fully, “Jan-am (“my soul”), what did I not notice?” She softly answered: “The door.”

I came out of the car, and circled the car. I didn’t see anything. No dents, no scratches. I looked at her beautiful brown eyes, and she softly repeated, but with a smile this time: “Your door.”

So I went over to my own door, the same one that I had slammed in my rush. And there it was.

The door, in fact the whole car, was covered in morning dew. And then, written onto the morning dew, in the handwriting that can only come from the fingers of a beautiful little girl filled with love, were the three most magical, most powerful words of all:

I love you

Under the sentence was a picture she had drawn into the morning dew of herself, a beautiful smiling girl, with the most magical long hair.

There is love, and it is real. I am loved. She wanted me to know that in the midst of all this chaos, I am loved.

Sometimes it is written in dew. It is here for a few minutes, and then gone. The love behind it lingers, onto eternity. So often I’ve been told to stop and smell the roses. If only. Roses linger for a while. They start out in a perfect little bud, slowly slowly opening, into that perfect form, before wilting while scattering every last bit of their scent. Sometimes their essence is preserved and lingers. There is a beauty, profound beauty there in the rose. But sometimes beauty is written in the morning dew. It is a beauty that you have to be present to, A beauty to witness A beauty to welcome.

It is as transient as a smile on the face of a child who wants to know if her Baba is paying attention.

May angel, May I always be present Fully

To catch your love poems

Written in dew.

Omid Safi, Love Written in Morning Dew

Living peacefully

I have decided to find myself a home in the mountains, somewhere high up where one learns to live peacefully in the cold and the silence. It’s said that in such a place certain revelations may be discovered. That what the spirit reaches for may be eventually felt, if not exactly understood. Slowly, no doubt. I’m not talking about a vacation.

Of course, at the same time I mean to stay exactly where I am.

Are you following me?

Mary Oliver, I Have Decided

The Elephant already at home

Happiness cannot be found through great effort and willpower,

But is already present

In relaxation and letting go. 

Don’t strain yourself, there is nothing to do.

As soon as you relax this grasping,
there is space – open, inviting and comfortable.

So make use of it. Everything is already yours.
Search no more.

Don’t go into the inextricable jungle
looking for the elephant who is already quietly at home.

Lama Gendun Rinpoche, Happiness