Sunday, May 23, 2010

Something is Out of Place

These shoes should be by the door. What to do?
  • Get up, pick them up, and put them by the door.
  • Scold the kids for leaving their shoes scattered about, have them put the shoes where they belong, and have them do the dishes while they're at it.
  • Get up, find something the kids value, and move it out of place. See how long until they notice. Make a point about the shoes later.
  • Remind yourself that, on some level, there is no "right place" or "wrong place," and the placement of the shoes is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things; then, appreciate the displeasure of the shoes being in the wrong place.
  • Burn down the house. Now there is no place and there are no shoes.
It's likely that one choice makes sense to you and that the others seem silly. It's also likely that, depending upon who you are, which one makes sense differs.  Moreover, for each of the choices, there is likely someone who thinks that that answer is the best answer.

Let's add complexity. A second person in the house believes that the shoes belong right where they are. Now what?

Do you think Aikido or Zen, or this philosophy or that religion will teach you how to handle the question?

While you consider this important question, I'll put your shoes by the door and fix you a cup of tea.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Morning with the Waterfall

Sitting in this place, you see the water falling, and you hear the water crashing... then, quiet, you wonder deeply, and you ask, "Why can I not see the falling and hear the crashing at once?"

Now you are filled with realization, yes, but emptied of the waterfall altogether.

How can you hold them both?

A brisk breeze blows through your hair...

It is a peaceful place. Bring your problems here and sit with the waterfall. Can both your problems and the waterfall exist at once?

When the pollen is gone, both nostrils will be clear, and you will breathe freely.

The concrete is still. The water flows.  It is indeed a peaceful place.