-- Charlotte "Joko" Beck
"Though my heart burns like a glowing hot coal, my eyes are as cold as dead ashes"
-- Zen teacher Soyen Saku
On the other hand, having suffered through some sort of respiratory bug several times this season, I could narrow my horizons and spin off fantasies of personal climate change and dreams of moving my tail to a gentler and significantly warmer clime. The delightful monkeys of monkey mind have spent a number hours in that jungle, playing with the thoughts and the imagery of such a move.
The weather? No big deal. It simply is.
No Big Deal
"NO BIG DEAL!!?"
"No big deal."
I was confounded. That the excruciating drama of my life could be perceived as "no big deal" was totally mind-blowing. At first my stomach fell. I felt totally invalidated." Yet, in the very next instant something shifted. A space opened. In that moment, I saw clearly that the extreme drama I was experiencing wasn't solid. It was transparent and shifting, a collection of thoughts and emotions. Seeing that, I realized there was an element of choice involved. Rather than rub salt in my own wounds, I saw clearly that I take even my own thoughts and feelings with a grain of salt. That seemed to help.
It still does.
Being a neophyte in the Practice, much of the time stumbling ahead without the support of a teacher or a sangha, it took me a couple of decades to get a better sense of what is actually involved with the terms "no big deal" and it's close cousin, "nothing special." Like all too many meditators here in the West, I believed strongly that the goal of Spiritual Practice was to become"unattached", to transcend the "drama" of my life.
Able to muster up a semblance of sustained calm through meditation, mistaking meditative quiescence for enlightened insight, I then managed to avoid, suppress, and repress a lot of emotion backed conditioned patterns and deep set belief structures. Driven deeper underground, they, of course, then rose up to bite me -- and others -- again and again.
Oftentimes, it wasn't a pretty picture.
As the Practice matured, I came to see that "no big deal" and "nothing special" had been largely just intellectual understandings to me. Although helpful at times, all to often these phrases had surfed along the crest of my rational mind. Underneath that, there was still a vortex of un-examined pain, fear and resentment resulting from an unfulfilled childhood desire to be loved and appreciated and acknowledged as very special, a big deal. (I still can"wipe out" readily on that one when I'm not paying attention.)
So, in that sense, it is Very Special, a Big Deal to me.
|Harvest on The Farm, circa 1975|