“Stop thinking, and end your problems….I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.”
[excerpt Lao Tzu, Tao Te Chin, verse 20]
A Cup of Tea
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
How often have you experienced a revelation, had an “aha” moment or had a new or startling thought? It is absolutely necessary to empty the mind (take out the trash?) regularly in order to create space, most importantly, to just be a being. A being doesn’t need thought to be. It simply is. An infant doesn’t need to learn how to be or to think about being.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about
Genesis 2 says that God created Adam out of the dust of the
earth. World myths (Greek, Sumerian, Egyptian, Chinese, Babylonian, Hindu,
Maori, Inca, etc.) depict people, male and/or female made from clay. Even
Wonder Woman was sculpted out of clay by her mother Hyppolita! A Jewish Talmudic legend portrays Adam as a golem (clay figure–a body without a soul) for
the first 12 hours of his existence.
It is safe to say that we all have proverbial “feet of clay” even before we left the Garden of Eden. If we were already clay or dust were we of heaven or of earth?
A long time ago I surmised that the
reason we Earth beings left the Garden of Eden was because the divine actually wanted
us to go—a reason and a purpose. Perhaps we had developed enough that it was
time; or perhaps we hadn’t developed enough and needed a challenge course for
So, as the Genesis 2& 3 goes, an apple tree was planted in the midst of other fruit trees in Eden and the young’uns were told you can eat the fruit of any tree except the fruit of the tree of knowledge. As any parent knows, if you put something where the child will regularly encounter it and then say, “don’t touch”, the temptation is irresistible. But even then Adam and Eve didn’t eat the fruit, so a serpent had to be devised to seduce them. And, voila! Success! Humans who lived in an eternal state of BEING fell into BECOMING. Birth, biography, death.
“What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good?”
A Course in Miracles
Not knowing its source, I kept that quote on my refrigerator for years so that I would see it often. And, because I am aware that BEING is “One”, I concluded that I was an integral part of the planning.
“Is willing to accept that she creates her own reality except for some of the parts where she can’t help but wonder what the hell she was thinking.”
Story People, Almost New Age
Is our world is a virtual reality of our own design? This idea is closely aligned with the ancient spiritual tradition of India that we are living in “maya” (roughly translated as “illusion”). There is the beautiful maya of the natural world that is there to appreciate it and to meditate on its many mysteries, to teach us and help us grow spiritually. But it is the human maya that becomes our role play—our charade–and leads us into believing that this Earth life is our only true identity. However, it is not. It is a merely temporary reality.
: “Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
Any cursory exploration of quantum mechanics reveals that modern Western science has met ancient Eastern tradition.
Wordsworth captured this knowledge and the inevitable destiny of ego development in Ode on Intimations of Immortality. An excerpt:
Have you ever wondered something your whole life only to discover there’s a word that answers the question?
For me, that word is resilience and it answers the lifelong question, “Why do some people overcome all obstacles while others fall apart at the smallest stressor?
Are some people naturally resilient? My best guess is, yes.
Is there a resiliency gene? My best guess is, no.
Even raised in the same family with the same life lessons, some siblings are more resilient than others. Some see failures and challenges as opportunities for growth. Others see failures and challenges as a threat to their identity.
Can resiliency be learned? Probably.
Knowing a resilient person and watching her model resiliency does not guarantee that another will adopt resiliency as a lifestyle. However, knowing such a person who teaches a program that fosters resiliency increases the likelihood.
I have been blessed to know such a person, who has made it her life’s mission to “Choose Love” and to teach others how to do that through a proven step by step program of Social Emotional Learning.
Scarlett Lewis is the mother of Jesse Lewis who was one of 20 children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012. I met her in February of 2013 when the trauma was freshly palpable. Over the years although her loss and pain will likely never pass, her resilience has increased manifold.
So, I present to you, Scarlett, the world servant.