Thursday, September 22, 2011

not that serious

Is there any spiritual endeavor that is not awash in plotting charts and pointers -- sextants and calipers and telescopes and maps depicting the place where "there be dragons" or "uncharted shoals?" There are richly and heavily-laden mule trains worth of explanation and meaning. This is serious adventure for the serious and yet Shunryu Suzuki once observed of our adventures: "It's serious, but it is not that serious."

My interpretation of that observation is that the seriousness of spiritual endeavor boils down to one serious-but-not-too-serious matter: Spiritual endeavor is serious because "I" am serious. That's the beginning and end of it. It's not better or worse, more or less elevated or debased, more or less profound or superficial. It's just a fact: "I" am serious.

But not that serious.

An old refrigerator magnet suggests, "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." Who would not want to fly if s/he could? Woo-hoo ... I know I would. Swooping, zooming, alighting and re-arising at will ... free on the free, free air! Who would not gather sextants and charts and maps and provisions of all sorts in order to reach out and touch what is so untouchable?

But not that serious.

Did it ever occur to you that with all those wise and supportive provisions gathered around you in a warming pile that you were already flying? No big deal. Just a fact. Already doing what is longed for with an aching, pleading heart?


Another refrigerator magnet suggests: Life is what is happening while you were busy making other plans.

It's serious.

But it's not that serious.

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