Sunday, January 9, 2011

"On The Withered Tree, a Flower Blooms"

I got that from Joko Beck's Everyday Zen (p.35), quoting the Shoyo Roku.

I want to address how sheepish, how oddly exposed, I have felt at the possibility that it might even be construed  that I have laid any claim to being "awake" in my last post...  And to clarify what I mean by the same.

I recognize that, at least in someone the likes of myself, this is not a permanent, on-going state of no-mind.  I am no enlightened master.  I have just had the experience of waking up.  I nod off.  I wake up again.  Life goes on.  Maybe the difference is I am more aware of how precious it is to be awake?  And how possible it is to change one's mind- snap! - in an instant-- from one state to another.  If we don't hang on too tightly.  Big If.  

Which reminds me of another favorite quote I have been holding out on posting here.  This one I saw on a magnet at Powell's Books, and I swear to this day I will go back and procure the thing... although maybe I do not need to, since the sentiment is so emblazoned on my brain:
Let Go or Be Dragged.
'Cause, really, let's get serious here:  Those are our only two choices.  

And, for me, it is in the letting go, in my allowing myself to just be -- to just be with the possibility of my death, to just say:  Okay, there may be nothing more to get from this tree, nothing more to ask of it, it looks pretty far gone from here.  Abandon hope.  Let go.  Just be.

And then the blossom appears.

I cannot tell you how surprised, how grateful, how stunned I was-- and am even now-- by the grace implied in this gesture.  Of how completely ordinary and completely beloved this swinging wide of the gate made me feel.  Pema Chodron says we can count on the universe, it will always speak to us, it is always in response to us.  My little yes was met with such an outpouring of blessing, that truly, I can hardly comprehend or find words for it.

And yes, I forget and I get peeved or I get swelled up with pride, or a million other things.  But then I remember.  I remember, and I wake up and swear to you my darlings, I laugh.  I laugh!  I forgive my small mind, my fear, my grasping, and as tenderly as a mother untwining her child's fingers from too much Halloween candy, I let go.  

And every time, every single time I let go, the universe mets me where ever I am.  It is extraordinary.  And, I am convinced, it is extremely ordinary.  Our birthright.  Or maybe our birth privilege.  

I do not pretend to understand all this.  I call this kind of thing yoga-magic--  I don't necessarily "get it", but I cannot deny that it exists.  And because I continue to fuck up, I  continue to experience it again and again on every scale and every level:
On the withered tree, a flower blooms.


  1. I rejoice! I rejoice!! in your awakening. It is a gift you are sharing me as beautifully as a sweet flower opening in the gardens I love so very much. I love you. Gale

  2. In return, i cannot tell you how surprised and grateful i am by this post. It often feels that the universe gives me a nudge and a hug — just when i most need it — through you!
    XOXO, Kerry