Rise Up, Open! – Two


Meadow, stream, mountain. (Mt. Eddy)
So here we are, day two in this current series looking at daily life training through the lens of what we term letting go. A popular subject I expect since most of us have been extolled to do that, and more than once. Probably. And I hope it isn’t only me who has puzzled about how one does that. The first couple of lines of my 2005 inspirational poem to myself are:

Rise Up!
Rise up and greet the dawn.

There are a number of references in our daily scriptures to this rising up. There is the talk of a joy springing up in the Litany of the Great Compassionate One for example. The Litany is an offering up, a looking up. We implore ourselves to, Do, do the work within my heart. Nobody else is going to do that. But what is the work within my heart? Getting up, rising up is a good start when there is work to do. That’s getting out of bed (always a hard one), out of the chair, out of the doldrums, off one’s high horse, off the Internet, out of the car, leaving one’s meditation cushion, leave the comfortable familiarity of one’s discomforts. Rising up out of a lake of unhappiness, to greet the dawn of a new day or a new life. Rising up is an act of will, a choice made constantly on subtle and not so subtle levels which can have life-changing consequences, one could not predict beforehand. All day long, all life long there are choices. The rising up of joy is all part of rising to greet the dawn of the next thing.

From The Most Excellent Mirror – Samadhi we have: Night encloses brightness and, at dawn, no light shines. In the laundry room, the other day I was asking a couple of novices where this line of scripture came from, Night embraces brightness? Nobody could remember and we decided I’d probably made it up! As it happened I’d only invented one word, embrace. Meditation embraces brightness. Meditation embraces with encircling arms the myriad demanding bright lights of day, the never-ending next things. And at dawn no light shines! the scripture says. What could that mean? Perhaps this little verse is challenging us to examine our customary, wall to wall, dualistic mode of seeing and conceiving of existence. Of darkness opposed to light, an action opposed to stillness. Nirvana opposed to Samsara.

Thank goodness Zen Master Dogen got up from his disquieted seat and sailed to China. Then came back to disturb us with his understanding. He unrelentingly challenges us to awake and rise up out of our sleep, and as he puts it in Kuge (On The Flowering of The Unbounded) Chapter 44, see Blossoms in Boundless Space. You can find this chapter of the Shobogenzo by downloading the whole book from the Shasta Abbey website. There is a lot in this chapter which I can relate to. In particular there is a resonance with my thinking on the use of the physical eyes and the impact that has on letting go mentally and physically.

Because it is getting late now and I have an early start tomorrow morning I refer you to the posting Worry Walking. The letting go spotlight today is on the use we make of our eyes when engaging with all that enters through them. I’m one who finds it hard to rise from my bed. What I do to help myself is to purposefully pay attention to what is before my eyes using peripheral vision, the ceiling for example or the curtains. I allow the simple sight to enter in and fairly soon I’m ready to move and get out of bed. Somewhere in there, I greet the dawn! This is a soft-eyed seeing, not hard-edged zooming in on something. During the day, at the computer perhaps, have a go at zooming out from the monitor and go wide-angle allowing the rest of the room to come to you. Your interest in the contents of the silvery eye of the monitor may fade as your attention shifts wider and opens up to the big wide world you actually live and work in. Ah! take a breath. Is this letting go?

See my comment also.

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5 thoughts on “Rise Up, Open! – Two”

  1. Rather regularly our attention is either overly directed inwards or overly directed outwards. Noticing this one can even out ones field of awareness by simply looking within to bring oneself back or purposefully allow what is before your eyes to enter in which brings you into the physical space you inhabit. Switching attention like this doesn’t mean you lose touch with either inside or outside. The distinction between them is lost sight of!

    1. Oh thank you so much for this message. Great to see you commenting here. More please. And that goes for everybody who reads.

  2. Dearest Rev Mugo

    Thank you for this … good to be reminded of the ” do, do the work within your heart” and this scripture, I must look it up & read it. We would read, maybe sing this with Andrew & Julie when the Sangha used to meet at the University.

    Love & gratitude for your work🙏

    Nic Yaffey

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