And yet we all in the end live, do we not, in a phantom dwelling?
This koanic line from Bashō became the thread through a variety of impressions and images for me this morning.
When The Shoe Fits
Ch’ui the draftsman
Could draw more perfect circles freehand
Than with a compass.
His fingers brought forth
Spontaneous forms from nowhere. His mind
Was meanwhile free and without concern
With what he was doing.
No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.
So, when the shoe fits
The foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits
The belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
“For” and “against” are forgotten.
No drives, no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
Are under control.
You are a free man.
Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.
–Chuang Tzu, translated by Thomas Merton
I heard the nun Joan Chittister on Easter morning tell a story from her book on gratitude about the fierce warload who had run every villager out of town except for a fearless monastic, whom he demanded be dragged to his feet. “Don’t you know who I am?” he thundered. ” I can run this sword through you without batting an eye.” The nun replied, “Do you know who I am? I can allow you to run your sword through me without batting an eye.”
–In a message from my friend Kathryn Kimball