The Sunday Buddha: Storm

(The most appropriate quote I could find from Master Lao this week was used a couple of weeks ago. So, for one week only, please welcome our guest speaker, the Buddha.)

“What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood?”

For the third year in a row, there have been redundancies at the company for which I work. This time around, I was not in the frame. People that I have worked with for many years were not so lucky.

Losing a long-held job can be a lot like losing a loved one, and will leave you subject to the same feelings of helpless loss. No matter how much you rationalise it as a chance to start again, to try something new, the kick in the gut when you’re told there’s not a place for you is a terrible blow.

We’re all subject to the cruel vagaries of fate, and to forces that are very much above and beyond our control. It can feel as if we are buffeted by a storm, clinging to any piece of flotsam we can find to keep our heads above water. It doesn’t have to be like that, and the simple recognition that we are all drifting together can, I hope, bring some measure of comfort. If we treat each other as equals under the storm, then there is the possibility of everyone finding their way to higher ground together.

The Sunday Lao Tzu: at peace

One can not reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.

There are several reasons why I choose to allow my Sunday posts to be quiet and reflective. The main reason, I think, is that I am in a quiet and reflective place at this time of the week.

All is still here. A cup of tea, steaming faintly. An empty plate, toast crumbs stippling the surface. Upstairs, the sounds of my wife preparing for the day. The light outside is cool. The sky seems a flat, gray bowl, but if I look carefully, I can see the faint colour changes of the cloud cover, slightly deeper hues shading away from the monochrome into blue. A bird flits from branch to branch on a tree outside, as busy as I am still.

For a moment, I let the day sink in, and distraction slip away.

The Sunday Lao Tzu: Little Wonders

“From wonder into wonder existence opens.”

As a writer, as an artist, the most important thing for me is to keep hold of my sense of wonder. I never want to feel like I know everything, and that I can no longer be surprised or amazed. I want to start every day with the expectation of learning something new, to be astonished or uplifted by an event, a piece of music, a film, a picture, a sunrise, a night sky. Even a simple act of kindness, an unexpected smile or laugh can be the tiny spark that lights up my day.

I’m open to all and every experience, and still have the capacity to be mesmerised or moved by the simplest thing. Some call the ability to hang on to your sense of wonder child-like, and from there it’s a simple step to call it childish, to sneer as if the ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary is something to put away once we are grown. I couldn’t disagree more. Finding wonder in the everyday, in the sights and sounds that surround us is the first step in making and remaking our world into a better, more magical place.