Thursday, September 2, 2010

Walking On Water

Two stories from Anthony de Mello's The Prayer of The Frog speaking to the way we go through life blind to the truth and deaf to the help that others willingly offer at no charge:

A man asked Bayazid to take him on as a disciple.

"If what you seek is Truth," said Bayazid, "there are requirements to be fulfilled and duties to be discharged."

"What are these?"

"You will have to draw water and chop wood and do the housecleaning and cooking."

"I am in search of Truth, not employment," said the man, as he walked away.

One of the biggest pitfalls many of us fall into is separating our spirituality from the rest of our lives. Spirituality is those minutes and hours sitting on our zafu; the rest of our time is what we have to do to support those few spiritual moments. If that's what it looks like then you've bought the wrong book or put the wrong CD in the CD player. Go back to the store and 'fess up — admit that you had a fit of stupidity when you made the original purchases and ask if you can exchange them for the book/CD package about cutting wood and carrying water, about washing the dishes and cleaning the house, about going to work and filing papers, about grocery shopping and filing the car with gas, about going to the bathroom and wiping your butt, about dealing with the idiot who works in the next cubicle. Go back to the store and ask for the package with a picture of the Buddha on the front cover and a picture of a concentration camp on the back.

Until we see that every bit of our life, 100% of it, is included in the miracle of who and what we are, we are still reading the wrong book, listening to the wrong CD, watching the wrong movie. Dogen calls it the One Bright Pearl, and you have to be ready and open when someone shows it to you and asks what you see.

A man took his new hunting dog out on a trial hunt. Presently he shot a duck that fell into the lake. The dog walked over the water, picked the duck up and brought it to his master. The man was flabbergasted! He shot another duck. Once again, while he rubbed his eyes in disbelief, the dog walked over the water and retrieved the duck.

Hardly daring to believe what he had seen, he called his neighbor for a shoot the following day. Once again, each time he or his neighbor hit a bird the dog would walk over the water and bring the bird in. The man said nothing. Neither did his neighbor.

Finally, unable to contain himself any longer, he blurted out, "Did you notice anything strange about that dog?"

The neighbor rubbed his chin pensively. "Yes." he finally said. "Come to think of it, I did! The son of a gun can’t swim!"

Our frequent imperviousness to the truth could be funny if it weren't so frustratingly inexplicable.

And for those who have forgotten this lesson....

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