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Some Suggestions For Negotiating a Moment of Discomfort With Another Person

If your discomfort is fear
Say “I am afraid”
If anger
Say “I am angry”
Take responsibility for your feeling
Claim it as your own

Nobody put it there
Nobody can take it away
It is yours to contend with

Don’t smother your feeling with kindness
Like pouring thick sauce on bad fish
It still stinks
Everyone can smell it

Instead,
With your finger and thumb
Pinch yourself very hard
See how easily you are hurt

All of life is tender and vulnerable
There is no escape from this condition




The Suchness Of It

In the suchness of it
Life overwhelms desire
It happens when 
We make ourselves
Bigger than the moment
When we pay attention 
To all the wrong things
But it would happen anyway
Don’t blame yourself
Still desire
Desire everything
And let life have  It’s way with you




All Things Fall Before It
(meditation on being bitten by a tick)  

I am awake all night now
Deirdre and the boys lie in cozy oblivion thank god
My companion is a voluminous unrelenting pain 
That rises and falls
Like the ocean tide   

Six trips to the emergency room
Have taught me that 
This is my pain 
Medication has no impact
No one knows what ails me 
In truth no one can 

Sometimes I can sit on my Zafu
Until exhaustion takes over
My concentration breaks down
And the pain floods me again
But for ten minutes
Or maybe only two 
The pain is in me 
But not of me
With me
But not part of me

Then I can question it
Why are you here
What is your purpose
Are you trying to tell me
Something
About my marriage
My capacity to love others
My self
Is that why you have
Taken up residence in my belly

There is no response  

The pain is silent
In the way a huge boulder 
That suddenly appears outside your door
Is silent
You can cut a path around it
To get to work every day
But 
No matter how cheery and engaging
You try to be
It never returns your greeting
It just sits there being
A Huge Boulder Outside Your Door    

Then one day
You get off the train
And arrive home to find 
An old Buddhist Monk
Attended by a bunch of hippies
Going at it 
With shovels, levers
And the immeasurable power
Of hundreds of thousands of millions of moments
Of concentration
“Suzuki Roshi
You Old Dog”
You say
“Why didn’t I think of it before
If anyone can move it you can”
Then joyfully leaving them to their work
You go inside to make tea for everyone
And when you come out they are all gone

So is the boulder

“Fuck” you say
“Now I’ll never get a chance to thank them”
And in that moment
You know what 
You have always known 
That Gratitude is 
Transcendent
And all 
Things
Fall
Before
It.   



Just Enough

Oryoki means
just enough

The Earth
consumes you
not
the other
way
around_