Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


the teacher is the web is everywhere ~

Lately it seems like everywhere I look I learn. I’m learning from the poems on the lists I subscribe to. I’m learning from the birds feeding on the deck (the much-maligned sparrows line up to take turns at their saucer of water). I’m learning (always) from my students. I’m thinking that’s what Buddhism means when it says that everyone we meet is a Buddha, teaching us.

And isn’t it also what Universalism means when it says that all beings will be ‘saved’?

When my elder son was little — 5 or 6 years old — he asked to go to religious school for a day w/ a friend. We lived in Saudi Arabia at the time, so ‘Sunday School’ was on Friday, the Sabbath in many  Arab countries. I said sure, always glad we could have contact with other belief systems. He came home with a fistful of questions about hell, which we don’t believe in. The metaphor I met these questions with was one I used throughout the boys’ childhood, and one I still liek: the divine force is a house, with many rooms and doors and windows and sides. The child whose family believed we were all going to hell, if we didn’t believe as they did, were in another room :). Or maybe outside…:)

Seriously? I wonder how much of my faith in the universality of all beliefs — that all lead to the same place, ideally, even the more outré of them — grows from my childhood. I went to Buddhist temple w/ our amahs, burning incense and bowing to the gilded image of the Lord Buddha. I watched as Chị Tám, the cook who ran the household, burned paper clothes for her dead ancestors on Tết, the Chinese New Year. I went to Catholic catechism w/ Jeannie Adams down the street, to synagogue w/ my sister’s best friend Sydney, to ecumenical Sunday School  w/ the family. It all seemed much  the same: offer something (from prayers to money) and try to be a better person.

Now? I see belief’s own teachers everywhere I turn. My journal is spilling over, its spine already cracking from quotes, poems, a cartoon, a picture. Each of which has something to teach me: Robert Frost on the dark night of the soul; a stencil from my niece, reminding me that love is often undeserved and all the more precious; a picture of a bubble, fragile and luminous; a hand-drawn thank-you from a dear friend’s granddaughter for a trinket. There are public transportation tickets, lists of things to buy & do, threads of poems I may or may not weave into something wearable… And each of them teaches me something different about faith, belief, what lies beneath the surface of my days.

So look around. Who — or what? — is trying to reach? To teach you? I know it sounds awfully New Age, but the world is a web — each of us connected to each other. Bee to honey to knife to mouth to me to breath to air to world to you… Each of us breathing in the air breathed by everyone and everything. Ever. It’s a lot to learn. But sweet.

 

 

 

 

http://www.storypeople.com/storypeople/WebStory.do?storyID=1104



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment CAC

    Beautifully said!

Previous Posts

ritual and meditation
Genuine, heartfelt ritual helps us reconnect with power and vision as well as with the sadness and pain of the human condition. When the power and vision come together, there’s some sense of doing things properly for their own sake. Making a proper cup of tea means that you thoroughly and complete

posted 12:07:21pm Sep. 28, 2014 | read full post »

love and mirroring, or, we are not our faults
I'm not (I think...?) a needy person, someone who seeks love and affirmation for everything s/he does. What I do like is when I can just love folks. My folks, of course -- not as good w/ the whole hoi polloi. My friends, family, the people I journey with. Love is a pretty good mirror, actually. M

posted 4:20:51pm Sep. 27, 2014 | read full post »

throwback Thursday (the anniversary version)
Once upon a time (and it was a very long time ago) there were a very young man and a very young woman. They fell in love & eventually (much to their parents' delight) married. They didn't know any ministers -- neither being church-goers -- so they asked their religion professor to marry them.

posted 3:34:30pm Sep. 25, 2014 | read full post »

life is complicated...
Sometimes I wish life was less ... nuanced. Complicated, in other words. I wish I didn't feel I have to vote w/ my $$ when companies aren't ethical. Since $$ are all many US corporations seem to value, I've started publicising their choices, and asking others to join me in refusing to support bad

posted 4:16:36pm Sep. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Mondays
Poor Monday. Even after retirement, it remains the ugly dog you'd like to love, but somehow can't. Too many memories of weekends spent catching up, and Monday showing up waaay too early. Today's a lovely day -- c

posted 12:00:17pm Sep. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.