Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stones Teaching Me Today

The stones arrange themselves, not because their shapes are right, or their weight, or their color, or their texture or even their chemical composition is "right." There is no value at all in any of them, yet each is all that it can be at this moment. And they belong where they are, wherever they are. Small, smaller, smallest. Hard, harder, hardest. And so it is with us. Can we simply accept that we are as we are and allow ourselves to fit into the world, into each other's hearts, arranging ourselves?

We arrange the stones too. Feeling their heft, absorbing their subtle surfaces, seeking their fragmented shapes. We layer them and organize them, rely upon them, and leave them long after our own breath is gone and done. We turn natural parts of the earth towards our own purposes. This is part of our exploration of our own existence.

Stones are a path that we cannot see, just as the practice is such a path. Until you step upon it, you may think the path is a garden of sedum and strawberries. Your feet will find the pebbles supporting them even when your mind is unaware. This points to the entryway that the body provides us for experiencing our own lives. Thank goodness for that!

Even that which seems dead and inert is simply a form in which energy is stored, or used. Maybe we see the lushness of the sedum and think "oh that's living and beautiful," and enjoy the juxtaposition with the inert stone. Yet the lichen grows on the warmth of the stone, not in the dirt. This reminds me that the sensory world is totally subject to my mind's construction of the moment. I can observe without having to assign "living" and "inert" and yet understand the concept of "living" and "inert." And I can practice accepting that this doesn't limit my awareness, or devalue my sensory input. Accepting that I am standing still on the earth and that it is turning on its axis, and that it is revolving around the sun, while at the same time I am breathing and every cell is open space.

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