Since the day we bought our house, some 14 years ago, I struggled to get plants to grow in a little triangular section of dirt by the front door. Everything died. Finally I just filled it with red rock and a cactus, calling it good. Lo and behold, a lonely little seed from an Impatiens that I had hanging in a basket on the front porch landed in these rocks, and has been doing nicely ever since it decided that was home. It hangs in there as a reminder to me not to struggle so much against the natural beauty of things, and sometimes it is just best to grow where you fall….
A student got discouraged because the higher states he experienced always passed. “What’s the use?” he asked.
Suzuki Roshi laughed and said, “That’s right, no use. All these states come and go, but if you continue your practice, you find there’s something underneath.
-Zen Is Right Here by Shunryu Suzuki
I don’t meditate to find something. I just sit and, in doing so, realization awakens within me; nirvana is here, now.
A young lady with whom I work asked me if she could get some advice from me. I said I probably didn’t have much to offer but I’d try. So she confided in me that she had “turned the other cheek” in dealing with an ugly-acting co-worker, but then was upset because her strategy hadn’t caused him to act any differently! She was under the impression, apparently, that “turning the other cheek” was some sort of Holy weapon, sanctioned by God Himself, capable of transforming the behavior of others into behavior she’d rather see.
This got me to thinking about misconceptions. One that I’ve noticed quite a bit of late is in regards to enlightenment. Enlightenment really has nothing to do with being a better person, or a holier person, or a happier person. Enlightenment is only an awakening to things, including myself, as they really are, not as I’ve been told they are, or as I wish they were, but as they really are, right here and now in this moment. That’s all.
Before enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water; after enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water!