Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day To Day

A new student threw himself into his practice. He was determined to become enlightened. He meditated endlessly, read countless books, and attended many retreats. One day, he suddenly left the temple and no one saw him for quite some time. Then on one day he showed up and the master asked him, “How is the search for enlightenment going?” The student replied, “Terrible! I became so disgusted, I stopped. I just try to make it day to day.” The master replied, “Excellent, you are making real progress now!”

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Foot Of Jade

An anonymous bureaucrat came to an old master asking for help in passing his days more eventfully. All day long, he explained, he sat receiving reports; reports that had been checked by others before him, and would be checked again after he was done with them and he found it all a frightful bore. In fact, he said that his whole life had become dull and uninspiring. The master looked at him and then took brush and paper, and wrote eight Chinese characters. Translated, they said:

No day comes back again:
One inch of time is worth
A foot of jade.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Life Not Lived

What are the burdens of a live not lived, or more accurately a life not lived well? “Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”

Jonathan Safran Foer wrote this in ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’. I believe many of us ‘live lives of quiet desperation’ a quote from another famous book by our friend Thoreau. We live lives we never wanted to live. We work at jobs not of our choice entirely. They are drudgery, they are not our ‘calling’ or our ‘destinies’ although many employers expect to believe they are. On top of that we get those people that cheerfully chirp ‘Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This may be true but few of us have that luxury. There are bills to be paid, responsibilities to meet. Doing something you love is not often an option. Over time, the burdens can become heavier unless one learns to let go of them as a child would let go of a balloon, and watch it drift across the sky. But too often, that balloon is instead our dreams, our hopes, and our futures as we watch it slowly drift away, out of reach of our outstretched hands.