This story linked to below has touched me. A young air traffic controller staying put in his tower to guide a plane to take off safely. As a consequence saving the lives of a plane load of passengers and losing his.
Time to contemplate. Time to offer spiritual merit. Time to remain open hearted. Could become numbed. Time to sit still, very still.
Below is the first post I wrote for Jade Mountains when I was in Idaho, during the summer of 2003. It is dedicated to my parents. In particular my mother. She lived to be 86 years old. What a trouper! During her last few years she had to deal with declining health. Though you wouldn’t know it. She was from a generation that ‘got on with it’, she didn’t winge or seek sympathy or consolation. Early in life I thought her to be overly forbearing, now I’m thinking she was on to something.
Here it is, the first post.
I used an ex US Army entrenching tool this morning. It was good to do some physical work for a change since I, of necessity, spend a large part of my day using a computer. The task at hand was to break up and clear away a ridge of gravel and earth on the side of the road created by a snow plough in the spring. The ridge was in the way of getting a good wide swing around into the drive, so I ‘had at it’ with the entrenching tool. The ridge was baked solid by the Idaho summer heat. The sharp end worked well to
break up the concrete-like obstacle. The spade was good for breaking down the remaining lumps and moving the dirt to make a smooth surface to drive over. Half an hour later and the obstacle on the road had been dealt with. An obstacle, a simple tool, applied effort, obstacle smoothed out, road cleared.
I’ve been pondering the first entry for this web site. In fact I have been pondering the whole question of persevering with a web site. It has, at times, seemed a daunting project especially for one with no previous experience in this field. This morning, while I was breathing in dust on the side of the road, one potential purposes for the site came to me. It was to do with roads and obstacles and ‘taking the next step’. The other part was ‘insights’, those thoughts that pop into consciousness to inspire, teach and encourage. They come, are learned from and then forgotten, however some times they are worth repeating.
Some years ago my mother asked me to choose some books from the mobile library since she and my father would be away shopping when the van turned up at the gate (this is a system in rural England where the library comes to you). “What kind of books do you like” I asked her. Stories about people overcoming great difficulties – biographies, she replied. I related this book choice to a fellow monk who, it would appear, knew my mother better than I did. She likes them because she has to overcome great difficulties herself! In my eyes she had been a tower of strength through out her life. It hadn’t consciously occurred to me she had grown strong through working hard and enduring tough life circumstances. My mother was an avid reader; she read for personal inspiration and did so to a ripe old age.
So, these pages are here, hopefully, for spiritual inspiration; inspiration to keep traveling the road and overcome difficulties. They also provide information and insights; information about the practice of the Serene Reflection Meditation Tradition (Soto Zen) and insights into how that practice unfolds in daily life.
May the spiritual merit accrued creating and writing for this site be offered in eternal gratitude to my parents, Dorothy and Tony White, and to all beings.
Will Pegg. The poem is an offering of thanks and gratitude to Wills friends, family and fellow 12 Steppers, as well as fellow life travelers. The poem comes at the beginning of a long post on Facebook by a man who is facing death. Very soon. He is saying goodby. godde is his word.
i thank You godde for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is YES
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Unimaginable You, the infinite ungraspable! Indeed. A poem; a prayer echoing in the hallways of all existence, where the idea of a separate self dissolves. Sir Edwin Arnold in The Light of Asia says it seeking nothing, he gains all; foregoing self, the universe grows “I.” What is there to say? Well lots as it turns out. We can imagine a Bodhisattva as superhuman, but watch out when they blaze in! However no, a Bodhisattva, this chap Will, is no super human. He’s every bit human with the human frailty that comes with this state. Countless people have benefitted from his living his life and countless people have taught him too. Humility is the watch word.
I met Will in a cafe in Victoria, Canada July before last. In the way that it can happen between people our eyes met, and a deep spiritual connection comes about, well past words or understanding. So it was and so it will be. Here I sit in England, Northumberland. Merit and meditations winging their way to a far off bedside. Join me why not.
Get a grip!
All those tears
Is that so bad?
Get a grip!
Oh, deep sighs.
Is there an end? Ever?
Is ‘ever’ so bad?
Get a grip!
At what ever age
We ‘lose it’
Early, middle Elderly.
Is that so bad?
For all those who, from time to time, feel like their grasp has deserted them. Happens to me sometimes. And at the end of life, sooner or later, our grasp will open to an embrace unimaginable. This is for Will in particular who is fast approaching the great ungraspable. If we didn’t hang on how would we know about letting go?
I’ll have to think about all of this. It’s getting late, better get to bed.