Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Ramble - Always a Doorway

Every once in a while, something drops into your life like a fragrant refreshing rain, and just when you need it. This week that something was the January 2010 issue of the Shambhala Sun, and in particular an article called "It's a Pity to Waste A Good Crisis" by John Tarrant of the Pacific Zen Institute.

The article exists in its entirety as a PDF file at Tarrant Roshi's own website here, and it is a powerful piece of writing, an eloquent reminder of something I always seem to forget. Happiness lies within us and not withoutit is not irrevocably linked to exterior circumstances and exterior modes of being. We can embrace the ambiguous, the unknown and the ostensibly painful in our lives with open arms and rest in the sure knowing that there is beauty, balance, fruitfulness and an indescribable richness to be found in what Roshi calls "the warm darkness of uncertainty".

There are seven koans or sections in the Shambhala article, and I am particularly fond of No. 4: If You Are in a Predicament, There Will Be a Gate. It could not have resonated more if it had been written in a letter for my eyes only. We need to remember that mindfulness traces a powerful glowing doorway in the fabric of the universe, and that there is always such a doorway (or gate) waiting for us when we need it. I shall carry the words with me wherever I go as I contend with my own medical "stuff" in the weeks and months ahead, particularly the last sentence.

"... when my mind stopped reaching out and fell back into the warm dark of uncertainty, time stretched out infinitely on either side and there was a pool of joy that seemed bottomless—joy in breathing, joy in hearing the birds in the cold before dawn. Having cancer was much more exciting than sitting in an armchair watching the game on Sunday. And everything I looked at had the aspect of tenderness and delicacy. I looked into the checkout clerk’s eyes and saw the universe looking back."

Simply magnificent...


the wild magnolia said...

My hungry, parched soul gave thanks for your post, and John Tarrant's words.

Thank you for sharing. Sandi

Lindsay said...

What a beautiful post. A friend steered me to Beyond the Fields I Know. It is the only blog I want to read every day.

Theodore said...

Beautiful post. Reminded me that the universe speaks to us every moment with a myriad of signs. If only we pay attention.

Anonymous said...

Funny how that is; what we need the most comes to us right when we need it the most. Sending you healing thoughts in the weeks to come and a speedy recovery.
Jane in Ottawa

Tabor said...

It seems what we need most does not come to us, it is always here with us. I am hoping you have many days of better health.

Sky said...

thank you so much for sharing, and i will be sure to check out the website.

it seems that when in fear we find ourselves resisting all that stands before us our energy dissipates, but when we open ourselves to live each moment we become that life-giving energey force itself.

having lived through 2 years of uncertainty in my own medical healthiness i understand the complexity of that circumstance. i just came to realize recently, however, that while some of us know we are in a state of uncertainty others have not yet been informed. uncertainty always looms above us, sometimes when we are aware and other times when we are not. it is simply the way of life.