Saturday, February 15, 2014

What Thou Lovest Well Remains Thy Karma

"You're still here, so you must like it," Chris, a visiting teacher, said to me this morning as a question about how I liked living at the Zen Center.

My answer was stumbling and equivocal. Today is a retreat day that I will lead. I spent yesterday afternoon and a bit of this morning by myself cleaning up after yet another heavy snow. I'm way underemployed. I'm STILL trying to get health insurance. I'm tired. I'm kind of bitter.

Shoveling snow these past two days I've not kept the best training mind that focuses exclusively on the work. I've thought about trouble: what I've not lived up to, who has not come through for me, how I will get by. I've been making a lot of bitterness. But shoveling the snow wasn't a total waste of Zen training. Even through a foggy mind you can sometimes see that whole karmic world you've made, all by yourself, even if you shove the shovel in for another bite of snow and wonder if changing a circumstance or refusing to return to a bad place will somehow make things better.

So, I was stumbling in my answer to Chris, and I said, "Sometimes I think of just jumping in my car and going to Colorado. I don't know anything about Colorado or what I'd do there."

He said, "it's good to do that just to find out once you get there it doesn't make any difference where you are."

Of course I already know this. At least sort of. Whatever I do, it will be the same. I'll still be shoveling snow alone, wrestling with what is closer to my than my own blood: my karma. Sometimes I'll put the karma down, but it will always be there to pick up once I start doing things again. It's the vehicle I drive and the destination where I halt. It's Colorado and Indiana and every cold shoulder I've given and received. I have nothing more.

So, my Valentine is to karma on this snowy, post-Valentine's Day. Karma that I can only face. Karma that I can't work with. Karma I have no choice but to love.

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