In this neck of the woods, it's Mother's Day, a day that calls attention to a relationship and implication everyone has had and perhaps continues to have. If you have a mother, that is pretty special. But if you are a mother, it's nothing out of the ordinary.
The older I get, the more I like holidays or days that call attention to one thing or another. I am a fan of the usefulness of attention and if anything gets someone's attention, mothers are probably one of the best examples. The tendrils of affection or disillusion or support or lack of support are so intimate and subtle and compelling, and yet often there is little or no attention. Mothers are an assumption most often, so having a day that calls attention to them and to our assumptions is a good thing, I'd say. Everyone has a belly button, but how often does anyone pay attention to it?
Today, I will take my belly button out to the zendo to do a little zazen or seated meditation. No one else is coming today. Those who might are probably celebrating Mother's Day in one way or another, so that is the important thing in their lives -- the thing to which they will pay attention. Later, I plan to call my mother and wish her a happy Mother's Day. She is 91 and probably not too surprised that she is a mother. At her age, it's hard to be surprised by facts. Surprise requires energy and separation. Her energies are waning.
I don't know how anyone else sees it, but sometimes I think spiritual endeavor is devoted to a complex and ethereal vision -- some salvation or relief from day-to-day uncertainties or sorrows. It is vast and compelling and pretty surprising. It is wonderful to find such a wonderful friend, such an inspiration.
But the older I get, the more I think spiritual endeavor is just a matter of making friends with our most intimate friends. Enemies too, for that matter, but I think that making friends with our friends is probably harder. Our intimate friends -- friends such as a mother might be -- cocoon and warm and support us. It is not so easy to make friends with such friends, to make friends with our belly buttons.
Our gods, like our mothers, have belly buttons just like our own. Who will take the trouble to make friends with their gods and mothers and belly buttons? Who will make the effort to seek out and assure themselves of the true creator?
I don't know.
But I think it is worth the effort and I think that Mother's Day is a wonderful encouragement.