Sunday, March 26, 2017

Project Update --- Daily Dose Of Zen

The attached is a picture of an Omamori - a kind of lucky charm common in Japan. This particular Omamori is from the temple near my home in Yokohama.  I bought it on New Year's Eve for a particular purpose.  I am not superstitious and do not place faith in sacred artifacts or other items as a means to channel good fortune. Rather, I think good fortune and success are about hard work, keeping a positive frame of mind, having a plan, and preparing to take opportunity when it presents itself.

In this case, my objective with this Omamori is rooted in one of the basic tenets of Zen Buddhism, "mindfulness".  The Zen mind should be in the NOW, constantly aware of the details of each moment but clinging to none of them.  The Right Mind abhors subconscious habits in favor of deliberate choices about how we live.  We seek to anchor ourselves in the simple everyday moments and remain constantly perceptive of our connection to the living world around us.

This Omamori was meant to be in my pocket every day this year as a New Year's Resolution.  I was supposed to deliberately put it there each morning, and from time to time take it out, remind myself of the importance of awareness, and continue on.  It was to be a token of mindfulness, much in the way of the spinning top from the movie "Inception" (apologies for the reference if you didn't see it). That was the plan, anyway.

So...what happened?

I'd like to report on my supreme focus and laser-like determination.  That would be a lie.  The truth is a bit more disappointing.

Some days it was in my pocket, some days not.  It got lost for days and weeks, washed, dry cleaned, and finally rediscovered in my suit last Thursday after I had resigned myself to the fact that I had lost it for good.  Strangely, I found it in my pocket on a very busy day when I needed the focus.  What a pleasant surprise.

Having had a few days to think about it, the Omamori is a reflection of my own Zen mind since the beginning of the year.  I have been here and there, distracted, lost, found.  Moments of clarity amid weeks of confusion.  Frankly, as a student of Zen I have been a great example of what NOT to do.

(sigh) matter.

Just as my Omamori appeared in my pocket seemingly right when I needed it, so too my state of calm "centeredness" returns to me at just the right time.  I resolve to try a bit harder to remember the little things that keep me balanced.  I remind myself that the Way is without time and without hurry - it is NEVER too late to get back on track.  Failure is just another part of the journey.  The real value is in making the effort and continuing onward.

Even Buddha said he was not perfect, merely tending toward perfection.
For all of us, imperfect and impermanent as we are, there can be nothing more than this.

"Ici. Et Maintenant." - Sifu James  

No comments: