Monday, November 29, 2010


These days, one of my students finds holding his life together to be more than full-time employment, and my hope for him is that he will someday see that actually, he doesn’t have to do the work. The vast universe he belongs to is doing the holding-together for him, with true steadfastness, daily and hourly. I know from experience how easy it is to slip into a style of living that considers myself as the main mover in my life, but it simply is not an accurate understanding of reality. While I’m fretting over self-protection issues, trying my best to preserve and strengthen my small personal self, the endless universe is flawlessly supporting and sustaining even the smallest part of itself, be it the lungs of a fox or the life of my student. Our world that sometimes seems so small to us as we struggle with our private problems is actually an immeasurable vastness, speckled with far-flung planets and comparatively infinitesimal specks like my friend and me. The fact is that none of us are separate, solid, defenseless entities, but absolutely essential and inseparable elements of this graceful and limitless cosmos. In a sense, we are no more responsible for the maintenance of our supposedly separate selves than a breeze crossing my shoulder is responsible for maintaining the movement of the winds of the earth. We are always in the good hands of the universe – my student and I and all of us. For me, this doesn’t mean I can dodge my duties and become a loafer as I let the universe carry me along. Rather, this understanding fills me -- and perhaps my student, someday -- with force and daring, and a fullness of confidence that I can take part in grand creations in my life. After all, to employ a phrase this same student sometimes uses, the entire universe – rivers, stars, sunsets, cells, and seas – has my back.

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