Sunday, February 19, 2012


Watching a crescent moon move across the dawning sky this morning, there was something wonderful in it. It was complete, it was etched, and it required no belief. Belief always leaves something out and the dawn wasn't like that. But having been the beneficiary of this small, obvious teaching, I returned to my regularly-scheduled program ... ignorance and belief.

In politics, police investigation and news reporting, there is a bedrock encouragement to "follow the money" and this morning I woke up following the money, a belief system so ingrained that calling it a belief system can seem bizarre. Money ... and I was worried.

Specifically, my son's car had been dropped with Jose, the bodhisattva car mechanic, to check out why the engine light had come on. Sometimes such lights indicate nothing more than an electrical snafu, but sometimes they indicate something serious. I didn't like the idea of my son's being in some unspecified danger. So I took the car in. The engine light was minor. The brakes, however, needed fixing. The bill came to $400 ... which created a serious imbalance in the fixed income I live on. It would 'impact' my ability to pay the rent -- the mortgage I may be able to pay off before I die, but in the meantime requires monthly attention. Not for the first time, I found myself praying to some Tooth Fairy or Lottery God that somehow the mortgage might get paid off and life would be easier.

Everyone "does windows" in this life -- things that they would rather not do, but ... tough titty. Anyone who has or has had children knows this sense of setting aside an easier world in favor of a more constricting and constraining one. Phones, mail and money are things I would prefer not to address ... but they require addressing. Tough titty. And of course, like anyone else, I have gotten used to doing my chores ... until the moment when I really don't want to do them.

Money. A Shingon monk friend of mine once told me he never talked about money when it came to supporting his spiritual-center efforts. "I let others think of it for themselves," he said. And I guess there is some sense to it. Money is such an over-arching belief system that at some point, as with other beliefs, it is time to stop believing and take a look.

The crescent moon moving up in the East was a nice change from my belief-studded firmament. It was easy where I insisted on confusion and worry and wishfulness. The moon did not wish that $40,000 would plop into its mortgage lap. The moon felt no shame at worrying about a car for a teenager when others might give anything for a bit of bread or a bowl of rice. Imputing clarity to the crescent moon was just a fanciful idea that no self-respecting crescent moon would indulge in.

I wonder if the crescent moon is wistful about the lip-gnawing of one who worries about money. I doubt it, but wistfully, I wonder. Crescent moons don't strike me as stupid ... but you never know.

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