There are very many unsung heroes, one can’t sing for them all. However tonight I will ‘sing’ for Bethany an NHS nurse who told me about a book she is reading. She reads one page in the morning and one in the evening, well done I say. The book is, The Art of Simple Living, 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy. I’m not recommending it but I’m pointing out that books such as this one work as an introduction, a seed which grows and sometimes flowers, opening the way to life-changing decisions. Or simply teach about how to live a better life, no formal religion required. For some of us though, no better no worse, there is an irresistible pull inwards ignited by those inky pages. That’s inwards to our deepest heart which cannot be laid aside at will.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryū Suzuki was my seed book discovered in the 1960’s. I’ve heard about many books that sometimes literally fall off the shelf in a library or bookshop or call from a friends bookshelf. Now the field is wide open; so many books, so much information, so many influences, so easy to be pulled this way and that. Which way is the right way, is there a way? Forward?
Then there are the stray people who float into one’s life sometimes briefly sometimes for the rest of one’s life. So many people who influence without even trying, not even a little bit. Casting my mind back now to what I’d imagine Bethany’s age might be and to who then, at that age, influenced me. That would be Hayden my boss who taught me photography and how to drink like an adult. And to respect myself. At the end of his life he suffered the indignities of Parkinsons Disease and Dementia.
That’s it Bethany, I said I’d write and I have. Keep up the good work and enjoy your life.
And I thought I had made up a new word!
Precautious is an adjective that means being careful by actively preparing to avoid something negative. It can refer to a person or an action.
This speaks to me as we venture out that little bit more. On a necessary car trip yesterday I noticed how the car had a car smell. I’d not been out in one since March 14th! Not been out of the valley since then. Not been shopping or to a medical or dental appointment or….well, just not been anywhere except here.
Alas, too many people drift with the skiff to fathom the sea.
From time immemorial they are causes of endless deception.
These are the last two lines of the poem by Ryokan. It is time to move on from this series. What better way than to celebrate Norman Trewhitt who died on the 26th May in Lancaster England from complications arising from a long time blood condition. He received lay ordination on 25th December 1979. Yes, he tried to fathom the sea, we talked much, he thought much. And believe me, he lived a rich and very varied life.
This photo was taken in 2008 in Cyprus where he taught in the summer for several years at an art school. Artist, SRN, fell runner, musician, foundry worker, medieval reenactment buff. Err, and biker. His four adult offspring are proud of him, and sad too. Blessing to them all.
Falsehood, when you see it as such, becomes at once truth.
Truth and falsehood are the mated edges of a double sword.
None alive can separate with certainty one from the other.
This is the best I can come up with tonight on these words from Ryokan’s poem. There are biblical references As in the word of God is….etc. I just thought to do a rap on this one otherwise I could be here all night typing.
Mated, chums, inseparable
As twins, close friends
The sword cuts
Zazen awaits me.