life is a beach

August 24, 2010

Buddhist practice is not about forcing ourselves to be natural. It is about being ourselves. When we take the vows of refuge, we are also pledging to find the refuge that exists within our own lives. This taking of refuge is not some kind of evasion or escape, but is the planting of our “selves” deeply in the nature of what surrounds us. We lodge ourselves in the deep waves and in the shallow pools, in the crests and depressions of our lives. Sometimes, even wreckage can make a temporary resting place.

A person whose life is in tatters might have nothing much else left to do but relax and look at the pieces of what’s left. Maybe this is the reason that so many of us are drawn to the sea and to the wildness of its coasts. The beaches display a confused but somehow soothing amalgam of particles: bits and pieces of once-living organisms, cracked plastic remnants of human creation, rubber wheels, oilcloth, mesh, fishing line. The sands are a haven for the dense and the reflective, the many failed items that were meant to last forever.

This evidence of the transitory is really what Buddhism is all about: the daily give-and-take of living, the constant awareness of time, the fleeting opportunities for new discovery.

– Gary Thorp, from “Shelter from the Storm”

2 Responses to “life is a beach”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Hmm. This is beautiful and very timely for me today.

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