At the Zen Temple today there was a great Dharma talk. This is what stuck with me after the bus trip home. We all have lists in our head of "If only BLANK then I would be happy." Sometimes we think "If only I was enlightened then I would be happy." Not so. If we are enlightened, we will only be able to accept that we are not happy. Big difference.
Recently, I have been praying that God just help me wake up. I'm asking for the truth to be shown to me. I don't want drugs (ie. movies, relationships, and other distractions) to ease my pain. I want to feel it. I want to be in it. I want to move through it. I want to awaken. What spiritual lessons am I supposed to be learning? What truth do I need to see? I want to see it.
I am scared writing this because I know what blows God can deal. Death, pain, loss, and total destruction of everything you have built - it can all be blown away in a microsecond. Scary stuff. I don't want that stuff. So, i'm a liar. I don't want whatever God wants for me. It is impossible to accept death and loss. I dont want challenges. OK - i don't mind little challenges, but please, no big ones!
So, yes.... "If only I get to keep my loved ones then i'll be happy. If only I meet the perfect woman who loves me and cares for me then I'll be happy. If only my job stays just the way it is then i'll be happy...." blah blah blah but i mean it.
I am no buddha. I'm no where near ready to accept whatever is in any given moment.
The Twenty-Third Psalm reads....
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.
He guides me in straight paths for His Name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow
I will fear no evil
For Thou art with me.
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
Thou anointest my head with oil,
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the
days of my life,
And I shall swell in the House of the Lord forever.
I have come to understand that what this means is that bad things are going to happen but that God will be with us when it does. The Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha will be there too. I do want awakening and acceptance, but I have to admit that I am a long way from acceptance on any big-ticket items. The little stuff, no sweat. I can accept that the CTA is running on one track over the weekends. I can accept that I am lonely. I can love my body now even though i need to loose 20lbs. I can accept that the bank is messing up my mortgage payments due to an electronical error. I can accept that I don't have a girlfriend and did I mention that I was lonely?
OK - lucky for me, there is another Zen Temple Dharma talk next week. Hopefully, i'll just keep plugging away at acceptance and I'll get there someday :)