starting over…

We saw a really cool movie this weekend called ‘it might get loud’. It is a documentary about three guitarists: Jimmy Page, The edge and Jack white. There is a part in the movie where The edge from U2 talks about writing the song ‘sunday bloody sunday’. He talks about how one day, he saw the tree trunks in the forest – and how they come together in line – and that moment when he had clarity – he could see things as they were. and he knew.

that moment resonated with me. clarity. one word. clarity was what I had in certain moments of the retreat. and stillness. one moment was when I saw deer outside my cabin. they were grazing. and they were unafraid. I held my breath hoping they wouldn’t run away. I was in the moment looking at them. to see deer free and unafraid and unhurried, is a sight unforgettable. I knew that is how my heart was. afraid and sensitive and ready to bolt, but also capable of being free and timeless.

The thing with clarity is it can’t be forced. it arises unbidden given the right conditions. a moment when you see things clearly and you have the equanimity to face what arises. in fact, everything about meditation is about not doing. about allowing what is deep within to surface. That’s why it is so difficult, because we are so used to controlling everything! how can we not do! ? Suzuki Roshi talks in his book Zen mind beginner’s mind about control: ‘to give your sheep or cow a large spacious meadow is the way to control him’. He talks about the mind and various images that come up: ‘let them come and let them go. then they will be under control. but this policy is not easy. it sounds easy, but it requires some special effort. how to make this kind of effort is the secret of the practice’.

the main secret in my practice is the starting over. Begining again moment after moment. letting the past and the future be and pay attention to now. Sometimes I think I know something. and then I suffer. and I realize I don’t know anything.

The edge talks in the movie about times when he comes to the guitar and there is nothing. and he says, you wonder if you are a good guitarist at all. Thats exactly what I felt in the past week. 10 days of meditation, and a long journey from CA to New England later, as I sat on my cushion at home, there was just blankness. I wondered if I knew anything. if I had learnt anything at all. And then I started over. a blank slate. my body. my breath. sending metta. beginning over. that is the practice. that is the life.

with metta, S.