“All we monks have is our breathing in and breathing out.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Teacher & World Peace Advocate
I remember stopping, suddenly, silently, when I heard this. I brought my upturned hands into view and asked if they were truly mine. “Did I make them?!” I gasped with profound gratitude, noticing that my heart was its own entity, beating time within me, for me, without my effort or influence. I felt the grace of this whole given experience.
“What do I truly have?” I ask.
I cut carrots, wash spinach, steam rice and combine. “I’vemade supper!” I innocently proclaim. Then looking deeply at the carrot tops, green water, and dirty pots, I realize that I didn’t make any of this at all. I am but a creative combiner at best. What grace these vegetables grew for the farmer, the trucker, the storekeeper and the cook. What have we truly made here?
In Zen, they speak of a backwards step. A gentle generous release of habitual claims and conditioned conclusions about what comes into view, we make more room for questions than answers. Room for the beautiful openness. “Breathing in, I am peaceful. Breathing out, I am relaxed.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.