Published in Blog Archive.
“…One autumn day when she was at her lowest, she watched a squirrel storing up nuts for the winter. One at a time he would take them to the nest. And she thought ‘If that squirrel can take care of himself with the harsh winter coming on, so can I.'”
This New York Times video gutted me when I watched it this morning. After breaking down a little, I proceeded to sit and listen to a meditation, read, and do some stretching before “going” to work. Within the reading I learned that meditation, in the Zen tradition, is referred to as “Zazen,” which can translate to something like “the seated mind.” I find that description very comforting.
On top of everything else going on within it, I felt shame when watching this video. Being confronted by both incredible hurt and incredible humanity, I felt like I’m not compassionate enough; not helpful enough; not caring enough. But I’m also grateful for the position I find myself in today, particularly when that very position is so incredibly rare. Both sides seem valid, but one set of feelings has a hell of a lot more to do with ego than the other. None of this is about me. None of it.
I’m going to play with an idea and see how well it works for me: Having a different book for each day of the week. My Monday book is The Beginner’s Guide to Zen Buddhism by Jean Smith. With today’s reading came a focus on meditation, reading, and community. Little things to take notice of, and take pleasure in. If that squirrel can take care of himself with the harsh winter coming on, so can I.