Among many old Zen Sayings (are there many new Zen Sayings?) is the one that goes "When the student is ready, the master will appear." I think I've experienced some of that this past week. A couple of days ago I was writing about my concern that "The real issue seems to be that not enough of us appreciate such beauty as the world brings to us." This morning, as I huddled under a blanket, hiding for the -15F temperatures outside, I (re)read a column by Catherine Buni in the current issue of Orion magazine. Unfortunately, The Power of Awe isn't available on-line, so I'll share an excerpt here.
Buni's piece helped me to remember a wonderful story from a relatively recent issue of Yes! magazine, about one poem that helped to save a forest. It's a story of poets and poetry and awe and caring about people and life and the only home we have, as well as the beauty of serendipity and masters arriving when students are ready. I believe it would be worth your while to take the time to read it this Valentine's Day weekend and, ideally, share it with those you care about. I hope you enjoy this weekend surrounded by the warmth of those you love and who love you, filled with awe about how lucky we all are to have each other and our common home.
south shore of Lake Superior
Photo by J. Harrington
...The human nervous system is rigged to "quiet the voice of self-interest, and to feel a sense of reverence for the collective," he'd found. The most reliable trip line from individual to collective, he reported in Born to Be Good, the 2009 book detailing his research, is awe. "Prototypical experiences of awe," he wrote, "involve perceived vastness, anything that is experienced as much larger than the self or the self's typical frame of reference." A grand vista. A forest. A hurricane. The birth, or death, of a child. The act of writing a poem...."
Awe of Everything
Do you know what’s the unluckiest thing
In the world, a differential grasshopperSaid to me. I paused, I put down theDiesel grinder I’d been trying to fix,I turned off the stealth bomber, I fadedAway from the faded away pedals, I put upFinely embroidered silk panels over theFaces of the statues, I pulled the greenVacillating amplifier into the hallway,I swiveled seven of the chains andLoosened the bolts in the balcony, I wentInto the barn to unlace the cattle andOverturn the empty buckets, I put theWhite flag on the mailbox, I cut theTelephone wires, I fed the ducks betterThan I usually feed them, I adjusted theFaucets so they’d drip a little, I wavedAt old Mr. Wiley with his smokeless pipeAnd his manpowered plough across the field,I moved a claypot off of a narrow ledge,I taped the key to the bulldozer to theRoof of the canopy, I took the cup ofAuger bits away from the rabbit hutch,I put a padlock on the children’s playhouse,I picked up a stick by the sideyard gate,I broke it over my knee, I went to the wellTo fill a stone pitcher with cool water,I let the donkey & the goats go. I tookA ladder to the hayloft and took down aSuitcase. I could see across the valleyDown to the river from up there.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.