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.