A Beacon of Hope

New heels for old shoes.

Treasured hankies made white again.

Years ago at a spiritual direction ceremony (Shozan) one of the monks asked about compassion. How may I find compassion for myself? The Master answered something to the effect that she started by taking care of her boots! It is not such a stretch when you think about it. Being mindful of ones shoes and getting them heeled, bleaching handkerchiefs when they have become sad and grey is to treat them with respect and gratitude. If one treats things with that attitude surely it’s possible to treat oneself that way too. To have compassion for oneself, and all things.

Too often people regard themselves as having little worth and so gratitude fades to a flicker. Sometimes that flicker dissolves into dark despair and where there is no light there seems to be no hope either. A woman asked me after the recent funeral how she could convey a sense of gratitude to the deceased. I said I thought all she could do was simply offer her open heart and in that there is conveyed gratitude. Which is a beacon of hope.

So I guess we make offerings of tender care to the stuff around us including ourselves. Life is precious.

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4 thoughts on “A Beacon of Hope”

  1. I was touched by a recent piece by the BBCs John Simpson about the preciousness of life. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by a lot of what’s going on in the world at the moment, and its nice to read something like this from someone who often finds himself in the heart of these troubles.


    He says: “I tried to find out dispassionately what had happened, of course, but when I looked at the bodies on their stretchers and the injured moaning in pain I felt a new kind of anger. I knew immediately what it was all about.”

    He then goes on to say: “I am sorry if this sounds pious or sentimental. I do not mean it to be. But I have finally understood something, through the blessing of having another child late on. It is that life itself is immensely valuable.”

    The phrase that particularly grabbed me was ‘a new kind of anger’. It came across as a natural movement towards compassion. I’ve got a difficult relationship with anger, but it sometimes seems to me that if you open to it honestly and let it blossom as compassion, there is something ok about it. I’ve got this this image of Achalanata and Avalokiteschwara mutually supporting each other.

    Rev Mugo.. please speak up if I’ve got this all horribly wrong!


  2. Dave,
    Thanks for the link, I’ll take a look when I have a moment.

    As for the anger thing. I’d advise you talk that over with the Reverend near you.

    Anger, hate, ill will, irritation all can arise and pass in a day or even within a moment of time. It can be a help to have an _idea_ about how training works, but that is not essential.

    Personally I see Compassion, both in its active manifestation and the more passive one as being deep in the ‘operating system’. Always there and accessable. The emotions are here one moment and gone the next. The ‘operating system’ _is_ reliable, and you can rely on it. The task is to remember.

    Not much of an answer to the specific you mentioned.

  3. Thanks Rev Mugo. I shall go talk to my Reverend.

    Life is precious. That which helps you see that life is precious is precious too. So please take good care of yourself.


  4. Hello Reg. Mugo,
    My late father had some handerchiefs just like the ones in your photo. They were only used by him and were known as ‘Dad’s hankies’. I still have them and think of them as being his. Ownership seems to go beyond death in the minds of those left behind.


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