This Will Not Save You

Work will not save you.

Success will not save you.

Status will not save you.

Wealth will not save you.

Family will not save you.

Relationships will not save you.

Belonging will not save you.

Pleasures will not save you.

Entertainment will not save you.

Consumption will not save you.

Being attractive will not save you.

Fighting aging will not save you.

Health will not save you.

Well-being will not save you.

Hobbies will not save you.

Scale will not save you.

Metrics will not save you.

Growth will not save you.

Self-help and self-optimization–these will not save you.

Healing will not save you.

Peak experiences will not save you.

Altered states will not save you.

Being somebody will not save you.

Being important will not save you.

Knowledge will not save you.

“But I am not at peace; I am not at ease; I am not at home here.” Then ask yourself, “Then what could save me?”

Only this is a true soteriology.

‘I Remember When The Pandemic First Began…’

I remember when the pandemic first began. Then we spoke of buying a van, of outfitting it, of traveling.

I remember before the pandemic that we spoke of where we’d live next. Not knowing where this would be never stopped us from asking.

Nine months later, we speak of neither. What’s the matter with right here? Nothing. What’s lacking right now? Not a thing. Contentment always underfoot; in the bones; in and out the heart. The sun has always been round.

This is called the essence of meditation.

Meditation: No Drama And Lots Of Crying

You concoct dramas each day. As the Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu says, “You say no this and yes that.” Something happened and away the mind goes: the boss said this, the co-worker said that, this is what you think, and it’s all a big problem, isn’t it? Mind loops around and around, body gets tighter and tighter, angers and aggressions flare up and subside, flare up and subside… No this: that’s complaining! Drama drama drama. Yes that: that’s fantasy! More craving and drama drama drama…

Boy, and you think that Trump is a drama queen. You’re half-right: he is and so are you, only not so flamboyant (I trust).

What’s amazing about years of concerted, wholesome meditation is that the drama fades away. Fades and fades. After a while, when someone asks you about yourself, the only thing you have to say is, “I’m doing fine.” Without drama, what more is there to say? It’s just quietness. “Every day is a good day,” we read in The Blue Cliff Record. Don’t just read it but feel it deep in our bones.

The funny thing is that no drama means more crying. Haha! More and more, you see somebody suffering and you feel it. You observe a road runner and it’s poignant. You feel the care, or aging, of your wife, and it’s sweet melancholy. Life and death ache in you.

I find myself crying a lot more now but almost never does it have to do with anything concerning me. It’s not at all hard to see why Buddhists have argued that “wisdom entails compassion.” While there may be some wrinkles in this argument, there are times, in one’s direct experience, when seeing the truth of reality does initiate, right then and there, a welling up of genuine compassion.

I like to say that it’s false to suggest that meditation makes you feel calm if by “calm” we might “chilling out.” Nothing of the sort! I like to say instead that meditation raises your vital energy to a point of great expressivity. In your experience, everything becomes as raw as raw can be. It is all raw skin quivering to the slightest touch.

A Roadrunner On Buddhism

On sunny mornings as we approach winter, one roadrunner suns himself on our windowsill. He opens up his feathers, letting the warm sunlight come on in. He sits there with open feathers and a contented aspect, moving slowly as the sun moves slowly, for hours. When he leaves, he folds in his feathers, tucking in the warmth.

When you espy roadrunners, you often find them darting about. Did you know that they could also sit like Daoist sages? Did you know this? I didn’t.

Often, he’s only a few feet from me as I write. How quiet and content he is! I barely notice him!

(This morning it is cloudy and not seeing him, I can feel his absence. I wonder about him. I look over and still he’s not here.)

Years of meditation: what a generous teacher! Slowly, cockroaches, Black Widow spiders, carpenter beetles, and ants, even when they get inside the house, are lovely. They are like guests who, perhaps out of absentmindedness, mistakenly made a wrong turn. So easy it is now to greet them and to show them their way back home.

A roadrunner is no exception. He is a friend. And isn’t even the wandering mind one way that the Way plays? Even wandering mind is my friend!

When we wake up to the Way, we see that the sun has always been round, that we have always been home, and that, in the deepest possible sense, all beings have always been friends.