Sunday afternoon the idea came to me to go to the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple in Kaneohe on the windward side. It was a spectacular day, sunny but not too hot. I rang the enormous Bon-sho bell, lit incense at the base of the golden Amida Buddha statue towering 9′ high and apologized for getting stuck in my head, for swirling downwards into useless self pity.
After walking the grounds I sat down on a bench under a little tree, crossed my legs, leaned back against the trunk and read through my copy of the Tao Te Ching.
It wasn’t really my intention to meditate but it just sort of happened that way. An hour later as I closed the book, my eyes closed with it and I sat perfectly still for quite a few minutes. It felt so good. So good to have my mouth shut, so good to not be complaining or worrying, so good to be at peace with exactly the way things are. Grateful even.
There really is nothing quite like just breathing.
Life ebbs and flows and it’s never going to stop doing that. For a while we do really well and then we slip a bit as the undertow pulls us out to sea. Friends and family show up at the water’s edge to help us back to shore. We remember to remember. We get to say we’re sorry.
I’ll slip again but for now I can be thankful that even though it still takes me longer than I’d like to recognize the fact that my thoughts are moving in a negative direction, at least I have the tools to get myself on track pretty quickly.
Here’s to inching back towards clarity and contentment. Here’s to remembering to breathe.
So now I have my first tiny goal for the year: travel to the Byodo-In Temple at the base of the Ko’olau Mountains, sit on the bench under the little tree and read through the Tao Te Ching six times before the end of January.
Yes. Please. And thank you.