Watch out for that first step
At the Zen group, after sitting for half an hour, we took turns reading from Charlotte Joko Beck’s Everyday Zen. The key question in the selection we read, on what the practice is: What can you rely on? Joko Beck’s answer: You can rely on life to continue being just as it is. “Life will keep on life-ing,” Renshin said.
I walked up to Renshin afterward and said: I have a problem with this idea. There is a similar concept in Byron Katie, that you can’t argue with life because it’s perfect exactly as it is. And it shows up in all kinds of Zen books. It makes a certain kind of sense, and it does help in achieving a certain level of equanimity. But it’s one thing for me to apply that insight to my own life, another thing entirely to tell someone else that.
Ah, but you’re making a big jump there, Renshin said. Who said anything about telling someone else what to do or what to think?
And then she added: Watch out for that first step – it’s a doozy.
I was briefly stunned. She had in fact identified something about the way my particular mind works, and showed it to me in a few seconds of casual conversation. All I could think to do was bow.
Later, as I was leaving, I was sort of backing out the front door of the church while saying goodbye to a few people in the breezeway. And I almost fell over because there was a step down from the door – a tiny little step.
the gap between the sky
and the ground