We all have to perform some duties. For a while I believed that there was nothing that I really needed to do so much that I kept running. It is not that I didn’t want to participate or do these things, I just wanted to do them when things are right, when I had inherited power in my own terms, when nothing limited me in terms of boundaries or egos. But, that time – when things are right – didn’t seem to approach. I sulked first and then cried a little but then I rolled up my sleeves and sweetened my talk and went to work. There were dishes lying in the sink from the last supper, clothes dangling in the wind that had to be brought down, and the floor spilled with particles of abandoned life that needed to be cleared. So I went to work, one by one. One dish taken from the sink, passed under running water, foamy layer then, and passed under water again. A cycle of things repeated without the want of anything especial. Sometimes I hum a song – Auld Lang Syne – and sometimes I mull over the grudges that I have carried but dishes come clean and that is all that one could ask for. In Zen they say, “Before Zen, chop wood, fetch water. After Zen, chop wood, fetch water.” That is my kind of Zen – that gets things as they are, in their mundanity they are respected and cared for. Then I move to welcome the dusk, where a cloth or two hangs on the line and I fetch them with silken reverence. The clip removed and the cloth pulled off the line in a swoosh, and then graciously leaving it on the left shoulder, a light burden to carry. Sometimes I look out into the street, the bi-way bending here, and curving there, then dissected into a crossroads. Life, I think is depicted too in a curving road. Then I move to sweep the floor with a good flower broom. A gentle swipe, reaching out to the corners of the room, just like reaching out inside the unconscious to release things gathered and allowing fresh memorabilia to seep in. Only when there is space, can things enter. The same is with love and hope. You have to open the door, once every day, at least. But, meanwhile duties there are to tend. Small at times, and sometimes larger, but they always speak of Zen.


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