your proof

June 27th, 2011

Zen is to deal with this very life – here now – as one’s own.  We have to face the fact of this now, this here and this oneself.  That’s what each of us is facing. That is the path. That is the Way. – Maezumi Roshi

When people bring me their stories of pain and despair; when they are broken-hearted and lonely; when I hear their panic and fear, their sobs and gasping breath, what can I say? What can I do? There is nothing I can say; no way to fix it. When people bring me their disbelief, their last hope, their rage, I can only meet it with a nod. Yes! Yes! You are right! It is true! You are not dreaming this, you are wide awake! How I wish it weren’t so, this time. How I wish for the things we all wish for.

Like you, I wish I could go back in time and undo every disaster, every accident, every tough break and piece of bad news. I want your life to once again be just as you thought it was or as you hoped it would be. I want it desperately, but I have nothing to offer you except this.

You’ll always reach the end of how you thought your life would go. You’ll reach it many, many times. What looks like the low point is also the high point. What looks like the end is always the beginning . Finding faith may seem impossible in your darkest times, but like the earth’s eternal orbit and the sun’s ceaseless shine, impossible things happen all the time. You may be lost right now, but after days, months, even years in the wilderness, you will be found alive. Completely, joyously, miraculously alive. This right here is your proof.

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  1. With my beloved aunt seriously ill and in the hospital, a friend newly diagnosed with cancer, a neighbor served eviction papers in a nasty divorce, a friend’s father threatening to kill himself, another friend’s son comatose in a hospital after falling off a roof three weeks ago, and my facing a possibly complex food and drug sensitivity, I needed this essay as a reminder that not only does this suffering always happen but that the sun does continue to shine (and my kids happily played out in the yard on their first school-free summer day). And so I just continue to breathe in and out . . .

    Comment by J, Connecticut — June 27, 2011 @ 8:11 am

  2. You have so much to offer.

    Comment by Roos — June 27, 2011 @ 9:07 am

  3. yes.

    I am sure you know the story of Pandora’s box and how when all the words were gone, there was one that had stayed stuck at the bottom of the box.

    It was HOPE.'s_box

    Comment by bk — June 27, 2011 @ 9:14 am

  4. you always have the right message at the right time 🙂

    Comment by imelda — June 27, 2011 @ 10:52 am

  5. Thank you for nodding.

    Comment by Jena — June 28, 2011 @ 2:11 am

  6. A nod, a wish, a pink slip, a winning ticket.

    Comment by Jena — June 28, 2011 @ 2:13 am

  7. Oh Maezen. These are the most powerful, the most useful three paragraphs I’ve read in a long, long time. I treasure your words, your commitment, the depth of your compassion and understanding. Thank you, teacher.

    Comment by Katrina Kenison — June 28, 2011 @ 4:56 am

  8. I sent this on to my sister-in-law who is going through a difficult ordeal right now. Thanks much for the meaningful thoughts and reminder to be in the moment…

    Comment by Justin — June 28, 2011 @ 5:23 am

  9. Indeed, you remind me what it is to be human. How wondrous and painful.

    Comment by Christine @ Coffees & Commutes — June 28, 2011 @ 5:41 am

  10. Wonderful Maezen. Gassho

    Comment by Shinnyo — June 29, 2011 @ 12:57 am

  11. Thank you. So good. Slowly I’m realizing my rage, when it arrives, stems from that wish to go back in time, as if I think if I throw a big enough fit what is will no longer be.
    Impossible things happen all the time—so true. Thanks for the reminder.

    Comment by Deirdre — June 29, 2011 @ 6:33 am

  12. Thanks Karen, and @ Deirdre, ‘as if I throw a big enough fit what is will no longer be’– Thanks for that too.

    Comment by Michelle — June 29, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  13. This spoke right to my heart. Thank you.

    Comment by Anonymous Me — June 30, 2011 @ 9:44 am

  14. I sent this to someone who needed it this morning. Thank you.

    Comment by Swirly — July 1, 2011 @ 6:04 am

  15. Thank you, sweet Karen. Somehow, magically, you always know just what I need. How on earth do you do that? I send you love. I wish I had enough love and gratitude to share with you all you do for me. Over and over and over.

    Comment by Katie Murphy — July 1, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  16. […] Two related posts by much more eloquent people: Your proof by the delicious Karen Maezen Miller : here.  Growth by a member of the “Nature of us” collective : here.  And my favourite […]

    Pingback by life is … hard. hard. hard. beautiful. — October 4, 2012 @ 11:24 am

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