lineage of presence

October 25, 2011

There was a time when faith, hope, and love meant for me – invincible security, getting what I wished for, and possessing my heart’s desire.

Now they mean: showing up vulnerable, readiness to share what I have without expectation of return, being fully present.

For a long time, compassion meant lowering myself to be tolerant of others who were not as fortunate as me. Now it means vowing that my actions may be helpful and harmless, fully experiencing my experience, taking nothing personally … so that I might embody my vow to be helpful and harmless, etc.

As a buddhan type person, I vow regularly to save all beings, end all delusions, enter all dharma gates, attain unsurpassable perfect wisdom.

Once, such vows were perfect rationalizations for grandiosity, entitlement, and arrogance. Now, I realize that “all beings” means attending to the one who is in front of me at this moment, and most especially, myself since I am always in front of me.

If I am overlooking myself as one of the all, I am breaking my vow. If I am ignoring my own limitations and constraints, I am breaking my vow. If I am installing doors and security locks on the gateless gates, I am breaking my vow. If I am resisting progress by staking a claim to this or that way, I am breaking my vow.

Here’s my suggestion: To the limits of your awareness at any moment: just be vulnerable; keep open your mind, your heart, and your hand; be helpful and harmless; be fully yourself as you experience yourself in the way that you experience; take nothing personal.

Consider this: Right is not the opposite of wrong so much as the restoration of balance and stability howsoever far from equilibrium that may seem to be from one moment to the next.

Make good use of your pantry and all of your tools. Above all, don’t waste time.

~ Gianni Grassi, Notes from the Sesshin Cook

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