Early Morning Pith Instruction

I wake again
from a seeming series of wakings, sleepings, dreamings, beings,
eyes slowly opening to soft dim dawn.
I breathe,
May all beings be well and happy.

The body aches, patchy sensation, not quite connected thinking and feeling.
The birds begin to sing
and wrapping all around is a blessing beyond words.
And I bring my hands together,
in gratitude,
and . . .
get out of bed.

Should I pee?
I have forgotten how my plumbing works!
Out now on verandah,
the sound of liquid cascading
on the walls of old paint bucket.
Yes, I needed to.
It’s disconcerting to be an infant in the body of an ancient,
having to renegotiate the basic functions of life.
Everything is new,
yet, at the same time, perfumed with lifetimes of attitude.

The discomfort on the left side of the abdomen is still announcing its presence,
– a pink, hot, stiffness
– a passing wish of otherwise.

boiling water
the smell of coffee in the pot
and sitting down with Dogen
being reminded of sanity.

The sky is overcast and neighbouring sheep are calling.
Roosters join with denizens of forest and thicket
flooding the aural space with cockadoos, solo peeps and insistent chirping.

I remember once, years ago, Namgyal Rinpoché
called Wangchuck and I to his side and said,
in what at the time, seemed an enigmatic way,
that we should study the Eastern traditions, master them and then walk on.
And then study the Western traditions, master them and walk on.
It felt like profound pith instruction
– ‘walking on’.

And here I find myself,
nearly 40 years later,
constantly not walking on
and then catching the moment
and walking
and feeling the quiet natural joy of it,
in the bones and marrow of beingness
the freedom of this blessed fresh now.
And writing these words
as if to solidify the moment as a reminder to me in times of forgetting.

Walking on is so much easier without baggage.
The baggage of hope and fear
the baggage of loaded words like cancer and health and better and worse.
This is a new and often frightening territory for a society of dedicated shoppers,
media watchers and personality polishers.

The stark beautiful thusness of a living world/community
– thusness unfolding in newness.
So invisible
And yet so palpably here.

And we walk on
celled ones, leafy ones, leathery ones, feathered ones, hairy ones,
and two-legged bald ones;
all interweaving,
suchness revealing
in blessedness breathing
this ever fresh dawning.
May all beings be well and happy.