October 19, 2011

The Fool's Progress*




The first thing I must do is apologise to my readers and followers for my prolonged absence from the keyboard. Sometimes the winding path of life can lead us away from the path we wish to be on but as long as we can keep our internal compass oriented to where we wish to be going, eventually we will find ourselves back on that path with renewed energy and enthusiasm. So let's just say that I was forced to take a bit of a detour and there may have been a few bumps and potholes on that side-road but I found my way back here and everything is (hopefully) still intact.

There are probably those out there who would argue that I have been far from "intact" for quite some time but what can I say? If my thinking or my ways seem a little out-there to some, I see a lot of behaviour these days that passes for "normal" in this modern society that I consider more than a little peculiar/outright crazy/zany/weird/perplexing/frustrating/humorous/slap-stick funny/just plain dangerous and/or any combination of two or more of those options, so I shrug my shoulders most times and just try to keep my focus on doing my best, for myself, my family, my friends and my planet.

The old Zen Buddhist monks called it being just so or just, being. but it is conscious awareness and focus upon the act and spirit of the moment, no matter how mundane the act or task may be. This Zen philosophy is embodied in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, in which every action, every decorative aspect, every element of the ceremony including the setting and implements are conscious acts of mind and body in harmony to produce a pleasing, aesthetically beautiful and harmonious event. The act of the tea ceremony is indeed a form of meditation when it is performed by exponents of the art but I think for all of us, the simple message of trying to be "in the moment" in mind, body and spirit is one that we can take to heart and try to apply to our own lives. This is not to suggest a care-free, live for the moment attitude because one of the basic Bubdhist tenents is that all actions have consequences and so planning and (sometimes unpleasant) tasks need to be done to ensure your own and your loved-ones well being in the future as well as in the present. Personal freedom goes hand in hand with personal responsibility in my mind and although there are many things that we cannot directly change, we can change our own lives in large or small ways to create a more harmonious, focused and artful event out of our lives.

Japanese tea ceremony implements and bowls could be simple and hand-made but beautiful and harmonious in the right setting or context.

My journey continues as do all of our journeys and in some ways the winding threads of our existence weave together into the rich tapestry of the world and the universe.I  look forward to catching up with you somewhere down the trail in the near future and I would like to finish with a quotation from Sidhartha Buddha that I think fits well;
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."


* Apologies to Edward Abbey

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