Letting Go…

I’ve been reading a wonderful book called “Taking Jesus Seriously” subtitled, “Buddhist Meditations for Christians” by John Cowan.  This book isn’t an easy read, in fact, it’s very challenging to stay with it for any length of time.  There are those books that flow from thought to thought and make for an enjoyable, pleasant  experience.  This book doesn’t fit into that mold.  This book demands confrontation with self.  It doesn’t allow simple pat answers to the same questions asked ad nausium.  As far as being challenged this book makes the reader look at himself and the reason some beliefs are held sacred.  I both love and hate this book.

Below is a passage that caught my attention.  I think it is worth sharing…

…Most of us would wave off the fact that our body limits us as an issue not worthy of note.  But it is worth note.  That is the basic pain the Buddha sees.  This extraordinary spirit that we are is stuck with corns and back aches and hang nails, and is its heavy, heavy self.  Even on it’s best days this lump of clay does not move with the speed and grace that my soul hopes of it.

This is why I cannot pay attention in the moment.  I view the moment as too dull, boring, and worthless for my attention.  This moment is a burden.  And indeed it is.  I am sitting at a stop sign.  I don’t want to be here; I want to be at my destination.  I am driving my the van.  I don’t want to drive the van; I want to be driving my motorcycle.  I am taking off my coat I don’t want to be taking off my coat.  I want to be sitting down in a restaurant.  I am reading the menu.  I want the food to be on the table.

So I do not pay attention to all those irratating moments forced on me by my entrapment in a body and therefore my entrapment in time and space.  If I can come to accept this ordinary pain then I can live into these moments.  The stop sign flashes with glory.  The van purrs with power, rain bouncing off its solid roof.  My coat’s craftsmanship and warmth provokes thanks and admiration.  The menu is a small work of art providing a universe of memories of tastes and the excitement of the unknown.

I do not want to spend the rest of my life groaning about the fact that I have a body, but nether do I want to forget that this is a weight I bear.

This is one reason Jesus has a predilection for the poor and suffering.  It is that they know they are poor and suffering.  Those who do not mourn are not paying attention.  Mourning is a doorway to the dawn of reality.

To not see pain in my life is to edit reality.  It is to be seduced by a subtle form of delusion.  If I edit reality, I shall also edit out the reign of God.  If I close my eyes, I not only ignore the monsters, I also ignore the angels.  In order to love my body I must love it in its entirety, both as pleasure producing, and pain producing.

Learning to look pain in the eye, not desiring to be otherwise puts it in its place an allows me to move forward without fear.  Why am I not open to the Spirit?  Why am I afraid to abandon myself to the will of the Father?  I am afraid that the prompting of the Spirit will bring me down a painful path.  I’m afraid that God’s will will hurt.

Somthing to think about.


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