HOW TO GROW A LOTUS BLOSSOM: Reflections in a Disciple's Life

by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Section XIV
Soothing Balm

With no mind in affairs and no affairs in mind,
We leap out of the myriad illusions
Into the Real One, the Unborn.



Most days during my retreat in 1998-99 I was given a couple hours in mid-afternoon in which all the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional settings were returned to something approaching a "normal" setting--within limits. That is to say, during these periods of "normal time" I would not be drawn into deep meditation, or be holding on for dear life through a firestorm of intense feeling, or be plunged into the memories and lessons of the past.

The spiritual activity during these normal times was contemplative reflection. Contemplative reflection is not analysis. Trying to figure it out was not allowed--the brain was shut off for that kind of mental work. Rather, this contemplative reflection was a simple re-view of the experiences and teachings that were unfolding each day. It was a time given for absorbing what was happening. It was also a time in which insight into the bigger picture was given.

Insight within Unknowing

I think of this insight as insight within unknowing because it was always very clear that I was being allowed to appreciate something that I could never understand.

Many times in my drives to Seattle from our temple, I have passed some of the huge buildings where Boeing builds and maintains jets. These are not skyscrapers, but box-shaped structures, like giant warehouses. I have heard that one of these buildings located north of of Seattle is the largest single-room building in the world.

Imagine that you are standing facing one of these buildings. Imagine that there is one door on the front of the building. It is like a gigantic garage door. It stretches the whole width and height of the building. As you stand there, right in front of the door, it slowly raises up, revealing that the entire building is filled with one vast machine. There is no room inside for anything else. As you stare at this machine, you see that it is infinitely complex. All you can do is gaze at it in wonder.

This is exactly the image that always came to mind as, during these times of contemplative reflection, I was shown, and allowed to appreciate, the infinite complexity of karma/rebirth, and the vast stage on which it unfolds.

Cosmic Compassion

It was perfectly clear--given as part of the insight within unknowing-- that this infinitely vast and complex mechanism of karma/rebirth functions as the expression of Cosmic Compassion. It always does the best for everything and everyone. There is no self-interest, no bias or prejudice, no judgment of good or evil, better or worse, worthy or unworthy within in Its utterly benign, just and dispassionate working. All genuine need one day receives help.

The contemplation of wisdom and benevolence on this cosmic scale was a great consolation to me. It was like soothing balm poured over painful skin abrasions. I could not cling to this consolation when, as happened every day for months, I was plunged back into the dark and turbulent waters of my karmic inheritance. Yet my faith and certainty were strengthened by this soothing balm.

Looking back now, seventeen years later, at these periods of quiet reflection, I marvel at the kindness of the Eternal. We may sometimes feel ourselves to be alone in a great darkness, but in reality we are born, live and die within Cosmic Compassion.


Click here to proceed to Section XV

Click here to return to Table of Contents of Book Two: How to Grow a Lotus Blossom: Reflections in a Disciple's Life



Click here to go to the Table of Contents of Book One: How to Grow a Lotus Blossom: Reflections

Click here to return to Home Page