I'm trying to rest and touch stillness in my shimmering, tender and quivering center.
I wish to let the well of patience recharge. To watch the inhale. To notice the exhale.
Whatever patience might seep in, I intend to share generously with next year's kids. Kindergartens are so full of suffering. Joy, too, but lots of suffering gets mixed in. Patience is needed.
For breakfast, aged Chinese Pu-erh tea and miso soup eaten slowly using chopsticks. I lift out—one by one—chopped pieces of boy choy, onion, carrots, and tofu. I chew each piece individually, and then slurp the broth, like I learned in Japan. Breakfast like this can last 45 minutes.
After breakfast—household chores in slow motion. Do my laundry and hang it out in the soft morning sun.
I wash last night’s dishes enjoying the gentle warmth of the water and the light grapefruit fragrance of the biodegradable dishwashing liquid.
As I washed the dishes, I tried to stay with the dishes in my hands. But my mind wandered. That's what minds do.
I thought about doubt and faith.
What is great doubt, if not great faith in skepticism?
What is great faith, if not great doubt in our ability to accept uncertainty?
Doubt and faith appear as two sides of the same coin. Great doubt is great faith. I'm not sure if that's so, but it seem so. Back to the sudsy bowl in my hands...
Wandering mind again. I also thought about my morning reading from the Dharma. The Buddha demanded that his students to let go of their cherished beliefs. Like Jesus, the Buddha told stories to teach.
The Buddha told a story to his monks:
A young widower was devoted to his little son. But while he was away on business, the whole village was burned to the ground by bandits, who took away the little boy.
When the father returned and found only charred ruins, he was brokenhearted. He mistook the charred remains of an infant as his own child, so he organized a cremation, collected the ashes, and carried them always in a special bag.
Years later, his real son managed to escape from the bandits and found his way back to his old home. His father had rebuilt the house. When the boy arrived late one night and knocked on the door, his father called, “Who is there?”
“It is I, your son. Please let me in.”
The father, still carrying the bag of ashes and hopelessly sad thought this must be some wretched boy making fun of him and he shouted, “Go away!”
The boy knocked and called again and again, but the father always made the same response. At last the boy left, never to come back again.
After the Buddha had told this story he added, “If you cling to an idea as unalterable truth, then when the truth does come in person and knock at your door, you will not be able to open the door and accept it.”
As I gently rubbed my sponge on the dishes to clean them, I took care to notice their fragility, their proneness to being chipped, nicked, cracked, and broken. A moment’s carelessness, and they could shatter.
My fragile dishes resemble my faith: not broken now, and serving me well this morning.