Sunday, January 25, 2009

Zen Dust

This morning as I was sitting in meditation I got a little insight into the koan of stress I've been working with lately.  (I get some of my best ideas & insights when I'm sitting.  That certainly keeps me coming back to my cushion for more!)  A couple of things became clearer to me. I have been highly aware of a feeling of bodily stress lately, brought on by the thought that I have a lot of things to do.  This morning I could see clearly that what the mind was doing here was an intense (but subtle) form of grasping or clinging.  I had this sense that my whole body was somehow reaching forward, into the future, if that makes any sense.  

Next I could see that this grasping was definitely me wanting to be in the driver's seat, wanting to control what happened.  And then it was like a little set of dominoes.  I could see this as a form of fear, this wanting to be in control, this needing to get things done.  And as I write this I realize what is fear, but a lack of faith?  There it is my grasping, my needing things to be a certain way,  my fears are all really a lack of faith.  Because faith is really a trusting that everything is fine just the way it is.  We are always taken care of and what we need is always right there for us.  Our work is really just to be present, and make our choices from that quiet place of non grasping, if we can.  If not, well what we need will come to us as well.  When we don't get it, the lesson just keeps coming back to us until we do.

And while this came as understanding I was also reminded that the desire to understand is another form of wanting.  And that as much as anything when we are in a place of confusion we need to let go of our desire to understand.  Such a western mind thing, it seems to me.  We are so attached to figuring things out and having to understand  (says she who feels she had figured something out this morning! ah we are such funny creatures,  my teacher would say!)  Ah, to simply appreciate the world in it's complexity and mystery, there is a pleasure if and when we can do it.

So that was my further exploration of the koan of stress that I wrote about in "What is the sound of one broom sweeping"?  A proverbial shaking out of the dusty broom, for now.  And so I have posted this unfinished painting that makes me cringe a bit.  It reminds me to rededicate myself to that silent, what do I know approach, to creating my art.  An approach where I simply go into my studio and spend some time with a piece.  I am not grasping after "I want to finish this".  I am not grasping after "I'd like to get on to the next piece."  I am not judging it saying "I think you're ugly."  I will just spend some time with it, getting to know it, with no agenda.  And maybe it will whisper something to me about where it wants to go or what it wants to be.  Or maybe it will remain a complete mystery to me for a while longer.  I just need to have faith.  And perhaps a nice coffee to go with it.

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