Words, bugger! As an example - Silence is an ocean. Speech is a river. When the ocean is searching for you, don’t walk to the language–river. Listen to the ocean, and bring your talky business to an end.” (Rumi) lovely, yes but unless you live this statement, unless you have a practise that brings you close to this truth then you will not know the ocean is searching for you and why or how to bring our talky business to an end. These always express practise and principle. We miss the point of how useful, relevant; necessary they are to our lives. This life right here as you live and breathe. But that is OK as they are not going anywhere at any time but we think we are and that the truth is far away, what a pity. But then we will die, and as we are so stupid and lazy hopefully our genes will not be passed on to future generations. Because we fail to read, acknowledge, embrace what is given and “As lions, elephants and tigers are tamed very slowly and cautiously, so should prana be brought under control very slowly in gradation measured according to one’s capacity and physical limitations. Otherwise it will kill the practitioner,” the Hatha Yoga Pradipika warns but we will not repeat the words; have only paper tigers, not the glory, the fearful symmetry; not the caution or the very slowly and it will kill us.
We practise a Martial Way. Lack of vigilance in body, mind or spirit will lead to real consequences, history bitter reminders. But how do we civilians, summon up the necessary energy that exceptional situations demand.
“If you train in such a way that every encounter is seen as a major crisis, that is, true Shugyo or as a vitally important trial, then you can go back and forth between the arenas of the living and the dead and it becomes possible to transcend the very idea of life and death. The main thing is to attain the “Way” which opens up [reality] calmly and clearly, just as in “every day” situations, no matter what kind of terrible crisis or dangerous events you may face.” O Sensei’s Budo Renshu
But then how can we do that. Are you serious? Also draw near those that do.
There are “Clouds of Witnesses” in all serious endeavours.
Meister Eckhart in “How we should remain at peace when not confronted with the outward oppression which Christ and many of the saints endured, and how we should follow God.”
“Many people are daunted and trouble by the toughness and severity of our Lord Jesus Christ’s life and that of his saints, as they are by the fact that they lack the strength to emulate them and are not called upon to do so. Seeing themselves as unequal to the task, many thus regard themselves as being far from God, whom they are not strong enough to follow.”
“If he cannot remain within, then he goes no further than the door.”
He concludes “Sometimes it is more difficult for us to endure a single word of insult, which is insignificant in itself, than a heavy blow for which we have prepared ourselves, and it is far more difficult to be solitary in a crowd than it is in a desert, and it is often more difficult to give a small thing than a big one, or to perform a small work rather than one which we regard as major. Thus we can easily follow our Lord in our weakness, and we neither can nor should believe ourselves to be distant from him.”
Mother T when asked how to continue her work says “Smile at your spouse”
So in reality as in martial situations there is no escape, no backing down, and no giving up. No blame or pity on anyone else. So these writings should act as a warning or encouragement stick for us to wake up “Examine these writings and train well.” This leads us to Shen Tu, practise when no one else is watching you.
So I apologise for my inept poetry - Chortle; is a word made up by Lewis Carrol of the Looking Glass. The Looking Glass where not one speck can reside was a famous poetic dual to establish a Zen Lineage of Masters from Hung- jen and Hui-neng the Rice –pounding Monk. Eating and shitting (is a sword cut if you take your blinkers off and practise) and I remember, I hope, Kyudo Roshi when asked by H.M. Customs what he did for a living replied “Part time monk. Full time eating and shitting.”
Non Merci (or gramercy) is the wonderful repeated retort of the character Cyrano de Bergerac, swordsman and philosopher, when asked to be a court poet.
We have forgotten how to be natural. Quiet. When in Nature we no instruction we become tranquil, suntanned from the inside out, we need to be reminded.
“You’re not garbage! Pearls want to be
like you. You should be with them
where waves and fish and pearls and seaweed and wind
are all one. No linking, no hierarchy,
no distractions, no perplexed wondering, no speech.
Either stay and talk or go there and be silent.
Or do both, by turns.
With those who see double, talk double-talk.
Make noise, beat the drum, think of metaphors!
With friends, say only mystery.
Near roses, sing.
A Roshi would only say when asked a question continue continue continue…
This is the way we live our lives. Please try harder.