I had intended to blog about one of the Zen precepts.........Be in the moment.....Be here now. It is the lesson I am working on right now and it is damned hard.........maybe impossible But before I go there I must share with you one of my favorite things. I do not know who to give credit to for the following gem. I received it years ago in an email and it has held an honored place on my wall ever since. Let me see if I can conjure it up out of my mysterious often un-accessible goody files. Oh shit. It is too tiny to read no matter how I tried to enlarge it. I may have to retype select portions of it for you. Aaaarrrrgggghhh.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness.
and thenwhat do you have? Bupkis.
The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame. The Tao does not take sides. The Tao has no expectations. The Tao demands nothing of others. The Tao is not Jewish.
Wherever you go there you are. Your luggage is another story.
Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in, Breathe out. Forget this and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your worries.
If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?
Be aware of your body. Be aware of your perceptions. Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of terminal illness.
There is no escaping Karma. In a previous life, you never called, you never wrote, you never visited.....and whose fault was that?
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Oy.
Drink tea and nourish life; with the first sip, joy; with the second sip, satisfaction; with the third sip, peace; with the fourth a Danish.
Accept misfortune as a blessing. Do not wish for perfect health or a life without problems.,....what would you talk about?
Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as a wooded glen. And sit up straight.....you'll never meet the Buddha with such rounded shoulders.
and my personal favorite
Be here now. Be somewhere else later. Is that so complicated?
As I was saying, that last one is the one I am working on. And yes, dammit, it is complicated. Having found that all of my magic tools for coping which have kept the world, the Demons and reality at bay for lo these many years are no longer working for me I am indeed up shit creek without a paddle. . Disaster has struck. When the pains of living descend upon me I can no longer vanquish them with my old tried and trusty "just do something nice for someone and you and they will both feel better" Sword. Doesn't work any more and I do not know why. What I do know is that losing that weapon leaves a person at the mercy of everything.
We all live most of our lives safely within our little castle stronghold....with walls and fortifications and a moat filled with crocodiles (or is it alligators?) and relatives and friends gathered
close by and available as needed. When attacks come at us we lift the drawbridge and huddle together, hurl a few stones or burning embers over the walls and wait till the attackers retreat in frustration. As long as we are able to continue to feel good by doing nice things for each other and can entertain ourselves and our loved ones by reminiscing about the good old days we can continue to delude ourselves that we have everything under control.
However, I just happened to look behind me recently and instead of seeing a rolling landscape with my path leading back into the distance of the good old days I suddenly realized that the small patch of ground on which I am standing at this moment is really all there is. There is nothing visible behind me except in my mind. And there is nothing clearly visible ahead of me except for one small patch of terrain just ahead of where my feet stand now.....a place for me to step forward into the next moment. Everything else is a figment of my imagination or a stored memory. It is a fascinating (and really scary) concept, but it has enabled me to finally grasp the premise of living in and savoring the moment as being the only reality. I am flabbergasted at how hard it is to keep from drifting off into thoughts of yesterday or tomorrow neither of which is touchable, tasteable or tangible. And while yesterday and all of our thousands of lovely or awful yesterdays were probably fact, tomorrow isn't even that ..... and may never be. It reminds me of one of my favorite Nat King Cole songs called "For All We Know". ( I wish I were skilled enough to include an excerpt for you to listen to because it is gorgeous). But the lyrics are so sweet and so profound......
....."for all we know, this may only be a dream.......we come and go like the ripples on a stream......so love me tonite.....tomorrow was made for some.....tomorrow may never come, for all we know....."
Since I have elected to NOT let my tribe put me on an ice floe and push me gently out to sea, I find that I must construct a new way to see and deal with the world from the perspective of this advanced age. Right now, it looks to me like living in the moment may be my solution...........if the moment happens to include that the cat just threw up on my bed, well, that is what I must deal with right now and that takes care of this moment As for the next one and the one after that.....I think I can't worry about them in this moment which is taken up with the results of kitty hairballs. Not my favorite thing, but do-able.
As for the next moment..........we'll see what that brings. (as long as it is not wanton kitty poop ) Sigh. I must keep repeating...."Be here now.....be somewhere else later......"
The New Yorker covers: February 10, 1968
6 hours ago