Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I spy with my little eye...

On Monday, I was sitting in traffic with my son and daughter. To pass the time and keep my kids comfortable, I suggested we play "I spy."

Now if you're unfamiliar with the rules, here's how you play: someone says, "I spy with my little eye something ________" and fill in an adjective. Green, tall, hairy, etc. Then the other players try to guess the object. I don't know if those are the official rules, but that's how we play the game in my house, or my car as the case was.

So after a couple of rounds my daughter stumps me with, "I spy out of my little eye something blue."

Immediately I scan the surroundings for something blue when I spot a blue Nissan two cars ahead of us.

"Is it the sky?" I ask playfully.

"Nooo," she jokes back.

"Hmm, I wonder what it could be." I pretend to survey the traffic scene. "Is it a car?"


I lunge for the kill. When it comes to "I spy," I'm a silent ninja. "Is it that car?" I say, pointing to the Nissan, certain that I have nailed yet another "I spy" target.

"Nooo," she giggles bemusedly.

I shake my head. What? How couldn't it be that car? It is the only blue one in sight!

Since we are practically parked in traffic, I swivel my head around to locate this mysterious blue culprit that has somehow eluded me and ruined my hitherto untarnished "I spy" record.

But for the life of me, I can't see it.

My daughter giggles, soon joined by my son, who although he's too young to play, thinks the situation amusing--his sister pulling a fast one on old dad.

So where the hell is this blue car she's talking about?

"Are you sure?" I ask, just in case she's joking with me.


"Because," I continue, "I don't see any other blue cars."

I watch her face laugh in the rear view mirror.

Again I look for this blue car, but still nothing. Where is it? She has to be messing with me.

"Give me a hint," I say, inching my car forward a few feet.

"It rhymes with 'Shur.'"

Shur? What kind of hint's that? It's not even a word!

Then it hits me, as I'm sure it did you several paragraphs ago.

She's talking about our car--my car's blue. Duh!

"Is it our car?" I ask, amused at my own myopia.


And right then I realize--that's life: we're always chasing phantoms of the truth and happiness when it is literally right in front of us. We get seduced by ideas and concepts, thinking that it couldn't be that easy. The truth, the Absolute, our true nature, whatever you wan to call it, is far way, inaccessible to us in the mundane world except through esoteric spiritual technology.

But that's just more thinking, more conceptualization, and more distraction from the life and present moment enfolding before our very eyes RIGHT NOW.

Koans, at least the way we practice them in the Five Mountain Zen Order, is about waking up the present moment.

It's right here, right now. And here's the thing--it always has been!

The truth is right in front of us, inside of us. Zen doesn't create Buddhas; it reveals what has always been there--our original mind. Don't-know mind. Just this. Thusness. Our Buddha nature, shining bright and clear while we're at work, at home, or in our blue car stuck in traffic.

Thanks honey for opening my eyes, yet again.

May we listen to the Bodhisattvas in our lives, whose koans, like life itself, reveal the ever present truth. And may we all Awaken together.

Photo borrowed from Creative Commons flickr user: Talie

No comments:

Post a Comment