Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Flowers, in teeth-gnashing conditions

Today was a day when life seemed to arrange itself strictly in the interests of promoting frustration. It took 2 1/2 hours to drive to work (it's usually an hour) and just about every annoying thing that can happen at work happened twice.

This is the kind of day when only a sound inner foundation can sustain one's sanity. Time and again I found myself neatly divided between the ordinary frustration, and consequent emotional reaction, of life, and the positive sustenance that a relationship with the inner flow of energy can produce.

It reminds me of the remark Madame De Salzmann left us with before she died:

"Be there in relation to a force. Then it doesn't matter so much, what happens."

Like so many of Dogen's anti-dialectical constructions, which by being both true and not true transcend polarity through unity, the proposition allows us to inhabit two worlds simultaneously: the ordinary world, with its absolute, inevitable, and in fact entirely lawful manifestations, and an inner world that operates under a set of laws more independent of circumstance.

There's no escaping conditions. There is no escaping the superficial, ordinary reaction to conditions. There is the opportunity to invest in conditions, to allow them, and our reactions to them, to feed us in a different way. As long as we are acquiring food from conditions, and are aware of that, by relationship to the organism, we are already not so identified with them. So there once again is the value of sensation--for me, in this case, writ large within the context of an ordinary business life.

...My wife Neal just asked, "what is the sound of one tooth gnashing?"

I am tempted to try and say something poetically clever to wrap this up, but it's been a trying day, and the brain wants to flake.

I think I'll let it.

Let us wish together: may any clenched teeth we encounter tomorrow be adorned with the glorious flowers of inner work-!

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