Many of my yoga themes have dealt with the idea of letting go and many will continue along those lines because we are born to a society of attachments. But, I found this most amazing quote which redirects us and points out why we shouldn't have to let go in the first place...
"We need to live being aware of the ever-changing nature of reality and appreciate the present moment. It’s not about letting go, it’s really about not grasping in the first place." Matt Valentine
My daughter just graduated from high school. People ask me how I feel; they ask me if I am sad. I know a lot of friends who have posted on FB that they are sad or that they have cried, but I do not feel that way at all... I am excited! I am anticipatory of what comes next...what comes next??! I am looking forward to seeing her path extend before her. Alluding to Valentine's quote, I do not have to let go of her high school experience, because I had never latched onto it in the first place. Things change. That is the only thing you can be certain of; that everything as you know it in this moment will change in the next. One moment my greyhound is sleeping, the next he is a bundle of puppy energy nibbling at me to play.
"From the Introduction to Crooked Cucumber, a biography of Zen Buddhist teacher Shunryu Suzuki by David Chadwick:
One night in February of 1968, I sat among fifty black-robed fellow students, mostly young Americans, at Zen Mountain Center, Tassajara Springs, ten miles inland from Big Sur, California, deep in the mountain wilderness. The kerosene lamplight illuminated our breath in the winter air of the unheated room.
Before us the founder of the first Zen Buddhist monastery in the Western Hemisphere, Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, had concluded a lecture from his seat on the altar platform. "Thank you very much," he said softly, with a genuine feeling of gratitude. He took a sip of water, cleared his throat, and looked around at his students. "Is there some question?" he asked, just loud enough to be heard above the sound of the creek gushing by in the darkness outside.
I bowed, hands together, and caught his eye.
"Hai?" he said, meaning yes.
"Suzuki-roshi, I've been listening to your lectures for years," I said, "and I really love them, and they're very inspiring, and I know that what you're talking about is actually very clear and simple. But I must admit I just don't understand. I love it, but I feel like I could listen to you for a thousand years and still not get it. Could you just please put it in a nutshell? Can you reduce Buddhism to one phrase?"
Everyone laughed. He laughed. What a ludicrous question. I don't think any of us expected him to answer it. He was not a man you could pin down, and he didn't like to give his students something definite to cling to. He had often said not to have "some idea" of what Buddhism was.
But Suzuki did answer. He looked at me and said, "Everything changes." Then he asked for another question."
Today's theme was about appreciation and gratitude. The following two Zen stories are from class:
"There was a group of elderly gentlemen in Japan who would meet to exchange news and drink tea. One of their diversions was to search for costly varieties of tea and create new blends that would delight the palate. When it was the turn of the oldest member of the group to entertain the others, he served tea with the greatest ceremony, measuring out the leaves from a golden container. Everyone had the highest praise for the tea and demanded to know by what particular combination he had arrived at this exquisite blend. The old man smiled and said, “Gentlemen, the tea that you find so delightful is the one that is drunk by the peasants on my farm. The finest things in life are neither costly nor hard to find.”
"Traveler: “What kind of weather are we going to have today?”
Shepherd: “The kind of weather I like.”
Traveler: “How do you know it will be the kind of weather you like?”
Shepherd: “Having found out, sir, that I cannot always get what I like, I have learned to always like what I get. So I am quite sure we will have the kind of weather I like.”
"One afternoon a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His three children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.
Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall .. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.
In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.
He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she may be ill, or that something serious had happened.
He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.
As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, What happened here today?
She again smiled and answered, You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world did I do today?
Yes was his incredulous reply.
She answered, Well, today I didn’t do it.