by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Part XIV

Silent and still, speechless and very well concealed within this Place without words, there is the Truth that directs all things.

Purifying Fire

All beings love, for Infinite Love is the reality of all existence. Yet love that is warped even a little by the illusion of self becomes possessive and insistent--then saddened, then darkly grieved, then angry, then deeply deluded.--And since all this suffering is rooted in love, it can truthfully be said that we break our own heart out of the best of intentions.

An arrow of need that is launched toward the Eternal in asking is easily thrown off track by saddened love: we ask for help, but often cannot let go of the opinions, desires and expectations that blind us to the help that we seek. By placing these opinions and desires on the altar of the Heart, we let go of our insistence. But it can come roaring back again and again, blowing that which was offered off the altar. Love has immense power, and that power, which can be expressed in transcendent selflessness, also imbues love that is warped by the illusion of self.

How can we cope with insistent love?--By patiently waiting in meditation--in the contentment of our own Buddha Nature--while the wind of insistence calms down. In this waiting we pick up that which has been blown off the altar of the Heart and put it back. And we do this again and again. Each time we thus renew the offering, insistence loses some of its energy--it loses it to the fire of faith and willingness, so that as insistence dissipates faith and willingness strengthen: "I must have." converts into "I am willing!"

In this way, human love is purified of self and reverted back to its primordial state of being an emanation of the Love of the Eternal. Now it can take its guidance from the Eternal. Love that is guided by delusion deepens suffering. Love that is guided by Wisdom does that which helps beings be a spiritual success, each individual being in his (or her, or its) own way.

The Place of Waiting

We tend to think of waiting as a form of inactivity that has little or no importance: we wait in anticipation of something that we are waiting to happen, or something that we will do. The waiting that is an aspect of meditation is not mere passivity. It can require great effort. And it is as important as any other aspect of meditation.

During the time of waiting, the vessel of our mind and body is being prepared to receive the Eternal's response to the prayer of the heart. In order for this preparation to be accomplished, we must not anticipate the response. We must be content to have nothing but the Eternal, know nothing but what the Eternal may reveal to us. Thus we use the effort of a spiritual adult to maintain childlike trust in the face of all doubt, fear, desire, and worldly praise and blame. This allows the Help of the Eternal to flow to spiritual need without obstruction.

The time of waiting is the time in which we are most tempted to abandon our spiritual effort. Fortunately, the patience that can be found in meditation is more than human virtue. It is an aspect of the Buddha Nature. We can withdraw within, concentrate the mind, and take refuge in the Iron Man--"the patient endurance of the Uncreate." In this spiritual Place, external things do not matter, the passage of time does not matter, loss and gain do not matter: the Eternal IS.

"In the darkest place the Lord gave me all of the teaching and in the lightest place His teaching remains the same. During my kensho in 1963 He gave me the same teaching and He will give it me again at the hour of death--NOTHING MATTERS--what a magnificent, peace-bringing teaching this is."
How to Grow a Lotus Blossom
(Postword; first edition, Plate XLI)

The Back Burner

We cannot sit in meditation all the time. There are things that need to be done, responsibilities that need to be fulfilled.

If we have sincerely asked, and if we have wholeheartedly offered, we can do our waiting within both stillness and activity, turning within in meditation when it is good to do so, and going out into activity when it is good to do so. The key is to work at keeping the same attitude of mind in both stillness and activity.

We can ask; we can offer; and most of the time we can wait. And the fact that we can wait can be a great comfort when we are meditatively "cooking" a problem. We do not have to act impulsively. Nor do we have to get stuck in passivity, deluding ourselves that "sins of omission" are less real and less consequential than "sins of commission." We can wait for the guidance of the Eternal in each area of need. We can trust that clarification on how to proceed in each of these areas will come at the right moment, and that we will be able to do what is good to do.

At any one time, I can identify many questions that I am keeping warm on the "back burner" of meditation. Some have been there for a long time (even years), some for only a few hours or days. It helps to have a big back burner.

Sooner or later every genuine need is met, every genuine prayer is answered. In Part XV of these Reflections, I will discuss the effort that we need to make in order to comprehend the answer when it is given.


Click here to proceed to Part XV, "Listening"

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