Zen 101

Monday, May 23, 2011

Do Not Waste Time

With palms together,

Good Morning Everyone,

The news this morning was difficult to bear. The city of Joplin was devastated by a massive tornado going into the night. People were left to withstand nature’s carnage in the dark of night. As I read the story and watched some video, I was moved to those still, silent tears that come from deep within my heart: people are frightened, huddled against the terror of chaos with little ability to secure themselves, I weep for them.

My heart touches theirs as I have been in that darkness and cannot tell you how overwhelmingly terrifying it can be. Combat in Vietnam; hurricanes in Miami; violent, psychotic assault; these things can touch us to the core in ways that destroy our very foundation, that foundational platform we use to get through the day.

Zen teaches us that nothing is permanent, that everything changes, and we are OK with that as long as the change is slow, giving us time to deal with it. But in the case of such disasters as tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunami, and bombs, we are less able to withstand the assault to our senses. In such times we pull our emotional selves in tight and go into action. Like the medic that braved machine gun fire to assist me, ordinary citizens in Joplin franticly search for survivors and render what aid they are able. It is later we undo ourselves, asking the core question, “what does all this mean?”

For those survivors, life will not be the same. A cold glass of milk, a marshmallow, or a simple daisy will speak to them in ways they never quite imagined. As a survivor myself, I take it as my sacred trust to reaffirm the teaching from the Sandokai: Do not waste time.

Be well

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