Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

the author's

the author’s

As part of a lawsuit I’m involved with, I was asked to see if I had taken any notes concerning the event under question. Because I keep a journal, which travels with me almost everywhere. In the 30+ years I’ve kept it regularly (and the many more erratic years before that), I’ve only lost 2. So yes — there were 2 relevant pages. Out of…well, more than 200.

Since my thoughts at the time were important, I turned to my blog posts from the same time. And found what I’ve suspected for a long time: writing is a way for me to think, to process. When tragedy strikes — or even good fortune, like a wonderful new house — I turn to writing. More & more often, that takes the shape of a blog post.

Reflection is the goal, in part, of meditation. Which is why there are various ‘ways’ (or ) in Zen Buddhism: chadō — the way of tea; kadō — the way of flowers (known to Westerneres as ikebana); zendō — meditation hall (the way of meditation). Each of these practices is a road — a way — into the connection of Buddhism. If tea becomes for me a meditation (and it often is), then I am able to slip the attachments of my hectic, often frustrating, sometimes even angry life and be in the moment.

This happens most often w/ tea, gardening, and almost always when I write. Writing, my brain tunes in to the process, and I live strictly in the word-by-word movement.way of tea It’s magic, in a way: I can begin a piece angry, confused, actively hostile. But over the course of the writing, I walk myself through the labyrinth, and calmness comes. As if a breeze blew through me. It centres & grounds me the way that other dō (the way of flowers, the way of tea, the way of ‘kicking & punching’ — taekwandō) work for other travellers.

So even though my revisiting of a traumatic time was unpleasant, the chance to thumb through an old journal was a moment suspended. The way afternoon shafts of light illuminate smudged window panes, turning them to rainbows. And I’m caught, again, by how much my beginner’s heart depends on completely unquantifiable, unexpected moments. Moments I try to capture, w/ all the success of a butterfly pinned to a wall…

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