see where you are

December 31, 2010

I once lived in an apartment so small I had to step outside into the adjacent hallway to open my oven door. There was room only for a bed, a radio, and a cardboard carton of books. I kept my clothes in a closet down the hall. Even in this confined space, there was housework to be done. Indeed, the demands of maintenance follow us wherever we find ourselves, from palaces to prison cells.

The Italian poet Cesare Pavese wrote in his journal that we never remember days, we remember only moments. And Zen teachers tell us that this moment is the only one we’ll ever have. Perhaps this is a better way of looking at enlightenment. It’s not achieving or gathering something. Nor is it losing or overcoming something else. It’s simply stepping outside of the room you’re in and allowing the oven door to open. It’s checking the ceiling overhead and cleaning up the spills beneath your feet.

– Gary Thorp, "The Dust Beyond the Cushion"

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