Posts Tagged ‘Verses on the Faith Mind’

crumbs in the toaster

December 13th, 2020    -    10 Comments

I washed the shower curtains today. Then the curtain liners, rods, and rings. I scrubbed the tubs and tile, and took off the shower head and soaked it in a bucket of chrome cleaner to dissolve the hard water scale. I don’t often do any of this. I mean, never. So when it occurs to me to do it as it did this morning, it most certainly is the right time. Doing it sets me clear and straight — smack on the path of sanity.

This is what carries me over the squally waters: the dailiness of things, the dishes and the dust. Up until two years ago, a woman would come twice a month and do most everything. Everything I didn’t even know needed doing. And then she disappeared. I don’t know why. But now I see that her leaving was right on time. I have been rescued. Saved by the windows and carpets, coffee spills in the kitchen, breadcrumbs at the bottom of the toaster oven. The whole pile of it restores my faith in—not quite sure. What remains of faith in these disappearing days? Oh yes, life. The fact of life.

I am astonished in this late season of the drama to look up and see the sky—the real sky—still beaming that not-quite nameable shade of blue, the color of better days. Shocking, yes, that when so much falls to pieces, the sky still holds its place, one fact reigning above all the lies and treacheries of small men in broken countries.

A half-turn of my head and I see the regal green of lofty palm and citrus trees, lime-colored moss carpeting a grove of giant bamboo. Doubts do not grow branches and leaves.

Carry on, old girl. You belong here, between heaven and earth, with the soap scum and mildew, water rings on the coffee table. This is the way. Not difficult if you don’t pick and choose.

Verses on the Faith Mind (Hsin Hsin Ming), the first poem in Zen
“The Fact of Faith,” a new dharma talk
Photo by Dovile Ramoskaite on Unsplash

i wanted to like it

April 17th, 2011    -    28 Comments

If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything.

Verses on the Faith Mind

I just finished reading a book. I wanted to like it.

Those last five words I wanted to like it are the tip-off to any author that her book is about to get trashed. I wanted to like it is an absolution before the executioner goes to work. I could write a wicked little bit on Goodreads, a quick dismissal, an eternal damnation, and a triumphant last word. One star. I thought so much about my clever condemnation while I was reading that I literally felt sick. I had to wonder what was more disagreeable: the book or me?

So I stopped myself.

Writers get trashed a lot. Is it more than chefs or dry cleaners or college professors or car detailers? Probably not. The web has made everyone a public critic of everything. Sometimes that’s all the interactive media seems to be: a shooting range. The whole world is erupting in opinions. We all have opinions. The problem starts when you cherish your opinions, when you elevate them, and, yes, even when you express them. Why express an opinion except to elevate yourself and demean others? Loft your opinion and it’s going to land somewhere it hurts. You might even shoot yourself. Look closely to see what you are sharing when you unleash poison and pain.

In my humble opinion, there’s no such thing as a humble opinion.

All this gives me pause about the way I glibly injure innocents and overlook the truth. What do I mean by the truth? The truth is what you don’t read in a book, and even less, what you think of it.

I just finished reading a book. I’d say more, but I’m finished.

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