Monday, December 27, 2004

Forget the Perfect Bell-Ringing

Gordon, who has been meditating for 20 years and ringing the bell for about as long, made a surprising revelation this morning at the close of our early morning sit. He said he questioned his right to be present after ringing the bell so poorly at the beginning of the second half of our sit. Wow! This really blew me away for several reasons. Gordon is the consummate meditation anchor, performing this duty about 99% of the time for the early morning sitters. It was almost a relief to know that other people are as sensitive as I am to the perceived judgment by their peers. Gordon even said that he knew how utterly absurd this idea was, but that it was all he could think about during the second half of the sit.

We humans seem to like to beat ourselves up about everything, much of the time imagining the perceptions of others. I wonder if any other species does this? I can hardly imagine one of my dogs feeling badly because his bark was a little weak. However, I have watched my younger dog almost topple over when lifting his leg to pee higher than his brother. Maybe they do care...

Being present in the moment means blocking out the last ring of the bell and not even thinking about the next ring. We must find ways to take comfort from our good intentions and not dwell so much on the results or on preoccupation with the future. Only then will the breath flow freely and the mind settle peacefully.

"Anthem" by Leonard Cohen

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

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