We talk so much about wanting to live a fulfilling and fulfilled life. I wonder at times if that in itself isn’t a source of greed that ends up in a life brimming overfull with too many challenges and activity.
It was Thomas Merton who said that taking on too many things, trying to solve too many of the world’s problems and end too much of its suffering becomes a life of violence. Against ourselves, and against life as it is. While he was all for individual activism, he urged his readers to remember that their lens were simply not wide enough to see the world. He didn’t mean that therefore the poor will always be with us, but rather to remember our true proportions. In his words, the world was God’s, not ours. In my words, we can’t see the beginning or the end of things. What we can do is live the moment causing no harm and doing good—for others and ourselves.
I often feel disappointed in myself. Why am I not working with the illegal community that lives right in my backyard in Turners Falls? I met a wonderful woman from Alexandria, Egypt who wants to cook and cater in order to support her family—why don’t I help her? Why don’t I go more often to the Stone Soup Café in Greenfield? It would all be so fulfilling.
As I get older, I get narrower. Doing just one thing well takes so much effort. Doing two, even three?
Ahh, patience. The patience to settle into this blog, to see through to a satisfying conclusion the book of householder koans, to take care of people, home, dog, to sit with a small local sangha. The patience to sink into the marrow of things, not to rush or hurry, not to forget to go outside at night and check out the moon.
Wanting more and more money has never been my issue, it was wishing to get more and more involved, feel I’m making a difference here and here and here. In a hurry for meaning, in a hurry for fulfillment. I’m beginning to see that the hunger for meaning and fulfillment can also be a trap., its own version of spiritual materialism.