Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Hole of It

As I was chainsawing some wood yesterday, I spilled some bar oil on my driveway. I soaked it up with some cardboard but a thin film still remained, so I sprayed it with the hose. The water puddled on the hot asphalt as I took a break in the shade of the garage, just at the point where I could still feel the afternoon breeze.

I hosed some water over my head and closed my eyes. When the water stopped dripping off of my face, I heard a trickling sound. I opened my eyes and noticed a small fissure between the driveway and the cement apron leading to the garage. The water had found its way to the lowest point and was draining underground.

Our yard slopes away from the house, where all of our rainwater and downspouts drain. So it is no surprise that ground water had found or channeled its way into the soil in order to drain.

It is only natural. Here is water resolving itself, doing what it does so naturally--flowing. So simple, so ordinary. When it's raining and I'm inside my house tinkering and toiling, trying to fix my life, the water is trickling away down this hole.

If only we could be so adaptive, selfless. We can.

Zen, an heir to Taoism with its emphasis on natural spontaneity, teaches us to stop blocking ourselves and simply respond to circumstances without the clutter of an insistent ego. If we, like water, can simply stop demanding that life follow our orders, and just find the holes--the natural openings that life offers us--then we can move freely. As the title of The Gateless Gate suggests, we are never bound; the Way is always open and clear.

That is our original mind.

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