Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sacred

I tell her that her work is sacred. She asks why. I feel uncomfortable and don't want to admit that my litmus test for sacred is when my heart goes thump in a certain way.

I think of the passionate DH Lawrence who differentiated between ideas and experiences. He says that we like to make experiences into ideas so we don't have to feel them. I do that, fitting ideas neatly into a square hole. But experiences are all over, bursting into the sky and running down our legs like the dribble from a melting ice cream cone.

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I attempt to deconstruct sacred. I ask “what makes something sacred.” That's easier for me than telling why I think it was sacred. I fool myself into believing that taking something apart is a more intelligent response. She stops me in my tracks, yelling “whatever” as a referee would yell “foul.”

Our zen patriarch Dogen said there was no place to spit. After being rebuked for stacking some chairs under an altar, I learn that some spaces are more sacred than others.

I remember the rubrics that some teachers use, assuming that if a student fulfills a number of expectations they would have a good essay. I rebel against the idea, and realize that one could do everything right and say nothing, and they could do everything wrong and say much.

When I label something good I acknowledge that I’m touched in a special way. I’m slowed down and realize what is important. Suddenly there is quiet. Everything glows. I feel an energetic breeze. I see goose bumps on my arms. Big ones. I want to step very carefully, not to disturb anything, hoping I can stay in that space for a moment longer. I become sacred, watching time and space collapse into the here and now.

That's sacred. And when zazen is over, one meditation leader rings the bell twice, as if a walking meditation is to follow. But no, it’s to let us know that as we walk back into our lives, we are just moving to another sacred space.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

That description of this aspect of your life was very touching to me. h.

Anonymous said...

How does your heart go "thumb", is it emoting about squashing a bug with a certain finger? H.

Kim Mosley said...

H, you get the grand eagle award. Thump, not thumb. I guess my editors need some canning.
www.merriam-webster.com/.../thump
to strike or beat with or as if with something thick or heavy so as to cause a dull sound. 2. : pound, knock.