A monk asked Xinghua Cunjiang, “What should one do when things come from every direction?”
The master said, “Hold to the center.”
The monk bowed.
The master then said, ” Yesterday, as I was on my way to a dinner in the village, I was caught in a sudden storm with heavy rain and violent wind, so I headed for an old shrine and found shelter.”
~ Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans,
trans. Thomas Yuho Kirchner
I read the above story in the latest edition of Tricycle Buddhist Review, from an essay written by Wendy Egyoku Nakao Roshi. I was moved by this story and inspired to create the artwork above.
Where do you find your center? What anchors you as the waves crash around and against you? Where do you find your ease and calm as turbulent winds swirl around knocking you off balance? How do you keep awareness focused, when distractions vie for your attention?
For me it is my meditation practice, it is nature, it is the tenderness of an open heart, it is love. It is staying with all that is and bearing witness, anchored in my breath and them from a place of compassion, moving into some sort of action that feels beneficial, that hopefully serves love and light.
I suppose everyone’s center may be different. It seems increasingly important to know what it is. There seem to be some who are intent on knocking us off balance repeatedly, wearing us out. But what they have forgotten, or may not be aware of, is that there is a place for each of us where we can find our balance, our focus, and a calm resolve to stick with it for the long arc.