I have a rather tattered copy of a small red book that was given to me by a brief acquaintance many years ago. I do not even remember exactly who that acquaintance was. Alas. Anyways, I have never fully read that book cover to cover, but I have chipped away at it over the years and a fair bit of it has stuck with me. It is not really that it is hard to read, necessarily. More that, despite the book’s somewhat diminutive size (in appearance anyway), there is a lot packed into it and, like those bits that have stuck with me, seemingly little things deserve much contemplation.
There is a discussion – I guess one might call it – in this book where the author suggests that much of the time, people talk a whole lot without really saying anything, and that all this really amounts to is a cluttering up of space; a pointless cacophony. His argument goes something along the lines of rather than saying “Boy it sure is raining hard today! Would you just look at all that rain coming down, Whooowee!”… or something like that, one could simply observe and acknowledge the environment, perhaps with a slight nod. No reason to jabber on about it. I of course am not doing the original argument any justice here…
The book is called The Sun My Heart and was written by Thich Nhat Hanh, and it is certainly worth a read. It opens with a story about apple juice and how it can be a metaphor for meditation. It goes on to point out the value of mindfulness and being absolutely within your immediate surroundings. Wash every dish as if you are holding the baby Buddha.
What are you waiting for?
The recent import of this question is not something that I can really describe here. I simply do not know how to fully process the situation that surrounds the reason for it, nor the specific moment that surrounded the utterance of it despite the fact that I was there and fully in that moment, and fully understood the asking of those words. But if I use it instead as a filter with which to look back on the past year – since it is the time of year for doing such things – it turns out to be rather interesting. But again, too much to write, too much to say, and too many thoughts that do not need to be blathered on about. And yet, if I were to explode the past month into all the component parts, I would have a pile of posts to write… never mind the past year. There has been so much going on lately that I simply cannot quite comment on it all. I would end up just blathering on sounding like I was marveling at the rain.
On the other hand, with the folding up of another wall calendar we can look forward to a whole new year. New life to be had, new choices to be made, new paths to tread, new questions to ask, new challenges to face, new fears to confront, new uncertainty. New adventure. So it is time to move forward, rather than be bogged down in the minutiae of it all. No time for talking, observe and acknowledge.
So, what are you waiting for?