When Life is Disrupted, What Then?

“God disturbs us toward our destiny
By hard events
And by freedom’s now urgent voice
Which explode and confirm who we are.”
- Norman Hirsh

I recently learned of a big change in my work life. A friend had shoulder surgery. Another prepares for dialysis several times a week for the rest of her life.

“God disturbs us toward our destiny.”

How can we move freely through the disruption?

We know, of course, that we are change and we are also resistance to change. We humans gave up clinging and swinging through tree branches for clinging and swinging through stories, for expressing the dream within the dream.

Waking in the wee hours, the swirl of confusion, sadness, blame or self-justification – and all the other 52 flavors – gains momentum, and the inner voice cries out, “I am not that story! I am this other one!”

Returning to the hara point, again and again, my will is not sufficient to let go.

David Rynick at This Truth Never Fails expresses it well:

“In the abstract, I have a great philosophical preference for surrender.  Given my estimate of the relative power of my self-will versus the power of the universe, the only sensible thing to do is to say YES to whatever arises.  But this clarity of thought and belief is not always enough, actually is never enough, when things turn desperate.  Just because I want to or think I should, I can’t will myself to surrender.  Consciously choosing to surrender does not actually loosen the grip of my opinion about how things should be.  The intention to surrender is not the same thing as surrendering.”

Yet the “mysterious pivot,” as Katagiri Roshi used to call it, somehow (sometimes) wondrously appears, and I don’t have to be or do anything other than fully step into and express this dream in a dream. Notions of self power and other power are dissolved by the elixir of grace, the quiet settling of sweet dew.

Reaching out for the hand of God (or Avalokiteśvara if you prefer), the hand of God suddenly appears as a kind, warm surrender.

Really not so bad after all.

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A New Home for Great Tides Zen?
The No of No No: Affirming the Great Heart Sutra

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