I'm home on a snow day. Again. For the second time this week. Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. I can use the time just as much as the next person.
What's funny about snow days for teachers is that once we burn through the first several, we need to make those days up later in the school year. First comes spring break, then days are added on in June. Whenever we start accumulating several snow days over our allotted few, as we are right now, I begin to feel guilty as if I am responsible for the snow.
Seriously, that's how it feels--not like I'm "done" with winter, although that feeling is certainly present too, but as if I somehow chose to have a snow day. The extension of which is that I'm secretly in charge of the weather.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but that's how the mind works; it personalizes everything. Everything in life, even the most obviously impersonal event like the weather, somehow relates to the ego. Car traffic is directly aimed at us, for what reason I cannot fathom. (To test us, teach us patience? Got me.) Rain or snow is there for us. As is sunshine and so-called pleasant weather.
I can't count how many times I hear people say something like, "Well if it's meant to be, it'll be." Or "I just knew the universe was telling me something." Or "It's all part of God's plan."
Really? Or maybe it's just your mind telling you that? Nahhh.
The mind is extremely adept at weaving narratives and finding patterns where none exist. We live in an impersonal universe that doesn't give a jot about our feelings, dreams, or intentions, not because it's a cold and callous, but because the universe doesn't give jots.
Zen reveals life as it is, without the conceptual and emotional overlays. There is no one controlling the weather, no mastermind engineering your fate. In my opinion, that's egotistical or superstitious quackery, more magical thinking. The universe does not have a "plan" for you or me any more than I can cause it to snow.
When we examine our minds and hearts, we find a lot of pain and fear, much of which is abortive attempts to protect ourselves from what we perceive is a hostile world.
But that's just another story: "The world is unfair." "The universe is alive." "The world is..." and on and on. Just more stories.
The truth of the matter is that there is no meaning in snowfall. There is just [shiver] and [grunt as we shovel] and [huhhhh! as we blow on our hands frozen from building snowballs].
That's IT. No "I" is necessary. Reality is empty of all of our ideas about it.