The alarm goes off at 4:25 in the morning. I take the dog outside for a few minutes before I head into my morning practice, the only way I can get the bulk of it done before my long working day. The old wooden house has a faint chill to it, but this falls off as soon as I sit down and start to practice. Sixty years and it still sits like a majestic rock against the modest hillside, surrounded by a bamboo and cedar forests that welcomes the wind each day.
Its another day in my new life, single now after seven years of hopes and dreams, only to step once again into the present moment, alone again. The thoughts and projections of what would be are left behind and I am struck by the sharp space that surrounds when two lives, once closely inter-wound, are undone. I clean my shrine, wash each bowl one by one and make my offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to grant their blessings for all sentient beings, asking at the same time to become more skillful in my human relationships.
The silence listens but says nothing as always. Only the faint chirping of a bird as it gingerly tests the morning, flitting from branch to branch in the slowly awakening dawn.
Sadness, regret and at times hopes and aspirations fill my mind, only to come constantly back to space, space, the here and now. Whether one likes to admit it or not, one cannot avoid pain in this human experience, for that suffering that we experience in our lives is just as valid as the times of happiness and bliss. In a world that constantly runs from the down side and clings madly to the good, I belatedly admit to myself the lingering remains of what was. Back to the moment, back to each moment, the mind wants to run away, to somewhere less painful and “what if”. Space beckons me again as my mind calms.
Praying that my ex- partner finds the happiness she so dearly seeks, acknowledging my own hopes and fears so deeply involved- ah, to be a Buddhist is tricky! The double edge sword of reality cuts sweetly and deep, as we dissolve and let go, and yet try to live our lives in genuine fashion. Heaven and hell need not be some far off distant possibility, they live here with us with each breath and moment, at times a choice, at others not.
I smile to myself as I remember to be kind to myself, for we are all human, and bound to make mistakes as the song goes. S