Saturday, March 14, 2015

The spring breeze is our every breath

The world before my eyes is wan and wasted, just like me.
The earth is decrepit, the sky stormy, all the grass withered.
No spring breeze even at this late date,
Just winter clouds swallowing up my tiny reed hut.

Zen Master Ikkyu, 1394-1481

Many years, we here in Minnesota are still being swallowed up by winter clouds. This year, not so much. All around, the trees are budding. The lingering snow and ice is melting. And the air is filling with the songs of returning birds.

The same might be said of how people experience awakening, enlightenment. Most of the time, it seems to be some thing distant, buried under the snow of our sufferings and attachments. However, it need not be that way. Even in the worst winter storm, there is a spring breeze waiting to be discovered.

Ikkyu stands exactly where he is in this poem. There's not much desire for something to be radically different, just description and acceptance of what is. And also weariness. A weariness that isn't what it seems to be.

The spring breeze that isn't in the relative moment is fully alive in Ikkyu's heart/mind. In the poem, it breathes a love into everything that is, just as it is. And in doing so, he moves beyond being owned by that relative reality.

That weariness isn't of a man who's been beaten down by the world. As I see it, it's of a man who has grown tired of riding the emotional tides of life's endless changes.

Whatever comes, he's ready to embrace it.

I must remember that the budding trees will someday be rotting logs. I also must remember that the rotting logs contain budding trees.

The spring breeze is our every breath.

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