needle and thread

July 31st, 2012

Registration is now open for the Beginner’s Mind One-Day Meditation Retreat on Sunday, Sept. 23 at the Hazy Moon Zen Center  in Los Angeles.


What do you practice?

Choose your practice wisely, because we become what we practice.

Some people grow more fearful or cynical; some more arrogant or vain; some greedy, some needy; some combative or close-minded. And then there are a few who grow as solid as a mountain and as wide-open as the sky. They are strong and yet tender. Steady yet yielding. Powerful yet gentle. You will recognize them on sight because they resemble the earth you can touch and the sky you cannot contain. It’s not that they are superhuman, but that they are more completely human than most of us ever allow ourselves to be.

I met plenty of powerful people in interesting situations before I began my practice.

I met the heads of some of the world’s largest companies.

I met the founder of Enron before his titanic collapse.

I stayed too long having cocktails with the Governor of Texas and missed my flight home.

I saw a President of the United States having a club sandwich on a sun deck outside a hotel.

I met Frank Sinatra when he was still doing it his way.

I met a Super Bowl quarterback, a Hall of Fame pitcher, and the general manager of the New York Yankees.

I met three Heismann Trophy winners, including one who would be acquitted of the crime of the century.

I met a half-dozen television anchors, two big-city mayors, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.

What I remember is that they were very well-dressed. (Except for the writer.)

Maezumi Roshi didn’t look like much. He was scrawny fellow, no taller than me, wearing mended clothes. His face was wrinkly and sometimes whiskered. But when you got up close, you saw that his eyes shone black as night and he moved, when he moved, like a mountain. If you think that black doesn’t shine bright, look at the night sky. And if you think a mountain doesn’t move, I’ll remind you that a mountain moves whenever it wants, which will certainly get your attention.

Unlike the world’s most illustrious people, he had nothing, yet he had something, and I would have followed him anywhere.

I guess you could say I did, although it was nowhere special.

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  1. words like a hug.

    Comment by ben — August 1, 2012 @ 5:40 am

  2. This is the sort of writing that disturbs my equilibrium and makes me hope that you are writing another book.

    Comment by Bill — August 1, 2012 @ 10:10 am

  3. I am not sure I can say what it is about this particular post that has me back to read it a third time today. But here I am.

    Comment by Jena — August 2, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

  4. Thank you for sharing your words. I’m also not exactly sure what it is about this one that has me back again and again but here I am.

    Comment by Shelby Lessary — August 3, 2012 @ 2:09 am

  5. I love this. More completely human, that’s just right. Thank you.

    Comment by Katie — August 5, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  6. Well put, very well put, thank you for sharing. Greatness on the outside, is, well, outside.

    Much peace,

    Comment by Miro — August 16, 2012 @ 4:57 am

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