Monday, November 30, 2020


We debated trust. She said it was about someone being dependable. I said it was about someone being who they are. She didn’t trust the thief. I did, saying that you could depend on the thief taking every opportunity to steal. I presented this quandary to my Zen teacher, hoping, of course, that she’d side with me. She said that we were both wrong, and that you can trust the universe. I told her that she kept saying that. “Maybe someday you’ll hear it,” she replied. So then I ran it past my friend A, who said that it was in the Heart Sutra. There are a few zen texts like the Heart Sutra that say everything, so that’s always a safe bet. I asked her what she meant and she said, “form is emptiness and emptiness is form.” Maybe I’ll understand that someday. So I changed the subject and said that we have to both see that everything is the same and also, that everything is different. So being “colorblind” is necessary, treating everyone as just another member of one’s tribe, while at the same time recognizing that they are so different. Then she said that this is just about semantics, which to me is a “heads I win tails I lose” argument because if you deny it you aren’t really listening and if you accept it then you are just wasting your time. So back to the question, what does is mean to trust in the universe. We can trust that we’ll be surprised by “what’s next.” Or we can use the idea of probability to explain everything. Like, “it was bound to happen.” That feels cold and actuarial. We use the word “refuge” in Zen. Trusting the universe seems like taking refuge, beyond using probability. I can trust the universe to keep me on my toes, and to encourage me to be authentic and loving. Life will not be an easy race, but the ride is fun.

(2 days later) I've been thinking more about "trusting the universe" and it keeps coming back to karma. Whatever we do volitionally creates karma. We can depend on the universe in that regard. My sister and I would drink my parent's scotch, and then add water so the level wouldn't change. We got away with it for awhile until we were busted. I think a lot of people think like that. They drink and drive and didn't have an accident so they think they are home free. But the universe is dependable in the way that we make a difference even when we fail, and that nothing goes by unacknowledged. We can trust the universe in that regard.

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