October 01, 2009

October 1st - For the Time Being

Almost everyone I know is in a time of transition. A seeming midway point between one thing and another. Or so it seems. Actually, we've been in transition from the moment we entered being-life, since nothing remains the same from one moment to the next. We've all had some plateaus when we thought things were settled and we didn't have to worry about anything. We know however, if we look around, that this is an illusion. Anything can happen at any moment and nothing is actually fixed. We just have the feeling that things are settled. It's a mercy that we get such moments so that we are not challenged by the idea of turmoil all the time. While I was speaking of this in the Zendo last night, we experienced a non-damaging earthquake.

Transitions require particular maturity on our part to remain equanimous while things appear topsy turvy, when there is the pressure to pick, to choose, to decide something that will have enormous effect on our future and those we love. Katagiri Roshi recommends to us that we "root ourselves firmly in Emptiness." If we do this we can go about our lives with confidence in our being, with confidence that the steps we take will rise out of the clearest point of wisdom. When we say that we can't rely on anything, that everything is continuously changing, we don't mean that we are abandoned to the wind and rain and that we are helpless. We mean that in each moment all potential is there for us and when we don't panic, when we don't try to grip our lives with fear and anxiety, we allow for wisdom and understanding to be manifested in our activities and our choices. In this, our lives are large, there is room to breathe well, we can manifest the aspects of ourselves that most long to be expressed.

Being is time and time is being. Everything is for the time being, for awhile, as Dogen Zenji says in "Uji" SHOBOGENZO. What moves through time resides in all of existence yet is for the time being. We cannot avoid time. The challenge is to fully enter time as an embracement of being. When we collapse into circumstance we begin to lose being and we set up obstructions for ourselves that reduce our possibilities. Obstructions are things or thoughts or patterns that cause us to be blind to potential.

In times when transitions are strong we can be tempted to be thrown into turmoil and to allow obstructions to cloud the way. So, we must dig deeply into spiritual maturity to be wise caretakers of our lives. This is not because of fear of making a mistake, but because caring well for life is itself being-time, is itself the manifestation of Buddha Nature. Living in this way we can live with confidence in the most difficult storms of change and transition which even the Buddha, Dogen Zenji, Ryokan san, all people meet along the Way.