Monday, March 8, 2010

Own it, the Zen way.

I recently have acquired several books about and to do with the ZEN way, however with the book list that I have ahead of these books…. I won’t get to reading them for another couple of years.

I love books and always have, I have too many to read though and when I am overwhelmed with all the reading that is required in school and that I have put on my “to read for pleasure” list, I will not read anything that I am supposed to.

This overwhelming pattern of mine brought me to my magazine reading. I can get tidbits of my reading on subjects that I want but not have to worry about finishing a book to get the content in which I was wanting. These little magazine blurbs seem to fill my need for the moment until I can find the list of other books listed in the magazine in which I need to purchase in order to read. It is such a vicious circle!

One of the magazines that I truly feel inspired by is “Spirituality and Health” and in their March/April issue there is an article by Geri Larkin and she writes about “owning up” the Zen way.

She talked about her normal morning dog walking routine in their lovely home town of Portland, Oregon. This certain morning, Geri was groggy from about only six hours of sleep and on her way out the door grabbed her library book to take to the book drop during her morning walk. Her dog Bodhi decided once arriving at the library book drop that he was ready to make his morning poo and so he did. Geri was prepared, with a plastic bag she reaches down and picks up her dogs deposit and ties the bag shut and then placing the bag into the book drop, closing it, and then gasping to realize that in her hand was the book and in the drop were the droppings of her beloved dog Bodhi.

She goes on explaining the stages in which her emotions ran.

Stage one: OH, NO!

Stage two: I could get away with this, just walk away… no one can see you.

State three: Owning up.

This is where she mentions the old Zen koan embedded in her mind in which every morning a monk calls to himself: “Master! Master!” then he answers himself: “Yes” “you must keep clear” In other words, you must stay in the situation exactly as it is, and do what it needs you to do.
She needed to own up and that is what she did by calling the library when they opened and explained what she had done. Her reasoning was that if she hadn’t then she would have causes harm, by leaving the bag without notifying anyone she would have caused harm to the person opening the box and to everyone that that person would have told throughout that day. But by calling and explaining to the appropriate people what she had done, she had caused a great laugh to the person on the other end of the phone and to all that were there to share in the experience of the phone call.

How simple was that I ask myself? When owning up, good things come of it. Sometimes it is harder than you can imagine but the good that comes out of it is priceless.

I may have walked away that morning, not feeling like it was my responsibility and not thinking that it may harm others. Harming others by my actions is not something that I want to do and the next time I do something silly like this, I will give it an extra thought about how my action will affect the next person and I will make the ZEN choice.

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