Friday, October 31, 2014
the careful things
With my back turned to the entry door, I could tell by name the people entering the zendo where we practiced zazen or seated meditation: The sound of their robes was enough.
I knew how to whistle like a cricket.
I knew how to hit a bullet-riddled target at 300 yards.
I knew and cared about the difference between "nauseated" and "nauseous."
I knew how to hide by being still or polite and recognized others who were likewise hiding.
I knew long words and short ones and could employ them to effect.
I almost knew how to walk like the animal I most wanted to walk like -- the elephant.
I knew careful things because I trained to know them and thought that if I knew enough of them, somehow I would corner and capture the serenity I imagined could be captured.
There was purpose and direction and a kind of protective smugness about knowing the careful things.
As the autumn squirrel buried nourishment for the spring that was yet to come, so I tucked in and made room for bits of careful nourishment.
So many careful things, always finding room for just one more.
But now it all seems a bit too much, like a suitcase packed and packed and packed some more until the realization imposed itself: What makes you think you're going anywhere?
Careful or careless, what's next will always have its say -- does it really need anything more?
"Careful" is needful phase, sort of like learning to walk. But once having learned to walk, isn't it just time to get going?