In 2010 I was reading Nothing Special by Charlotte Joko Beck. As was my practice I would quote passages from the books I read and then write my reflections. Here is my journal entry June 29, 2010. Beck was writing on the practice of meditation:
“Being in the present is the point of sitting and of practice in general; it helps us to be wiser about life, more compassionate, more oriented to what needs to be done.”
“After all the struggles and avoidance and denying and going the other way, it is deeply satisfying for a second to be there with life as it is. The satisfaction is the very core of ourselves. Who we are is beyond words – just that open power of life, manifesting constantly in all sorts of interesting things, even in our own misery and struggles.”
“…prepare the ground. We don’t need to worry about the little moments or openings that pop up. If we have fertile ground, well-prepared soil, we can throw anything in there and it will grow.”
Today’s reading (above) is not easy to grasp. I think it is saying that we tend to view life as a series of experiences. I might tell someone that “yesterday I had lunch with a friend and grocery shopped and worked on a sewing project. Other than that, nothing.” In doing so I’m implying that the in-between times when I showered and ate and moved from room to room or stopped to shuffle through the mail…these were not really experiences. These were not really my life. I think Becker is saying that it is all my life. Each moment or activity…all changing…me living in this long space called my life on earth. Change is my life, too.
So as I sit here with an unexplained pain in the arch of my foot that yesterday was in the ankle…that is changing, too. It may move to my toes tomorrow or in a couple of hours. It may just fade away. But I am living through it like a train passing through a tunnel or over a bridge. It is my life and my life is fuller than this one thing, this pain in my foot. My life is also the quiet morning with crow and other birds chattering and the light growing as the earth turns and Bernie snoring in the bedroom. It is good, it is me in life, it is comfort or discomfort, but it is my life.