If you let it, the universe leads you. Sometimes, it's hard to let it ~ not because I don't want to but because I'm clinging on to something futile. And because over the years, I've forgotten how to listen. Like everything else, it takes practice to connect, be still, and wait for the answers to come. Erich Schiffmann calls it "Googling the Internet of Infinite Mind." (Gotta love Erich.)
Because words are so important to me, I think the universe helps me out in times of particular denseness by putting things in plain English. One example of this took place when I was living and teaching English in Japan. I was in the midst of a particularly unpleasant work situation - an unethical and possibly slightly insane boss was making things difficult and my coworkers were quitting rapidly. In spite of my deep commitment to my students and remaining coworkers, I was growing more and more uncomfortable with my boss' behavior and the effect it was having on our work environment and our ability to provide consistent quality classes. I was only 23 and had never encountered a situation like this before.
One day, I was walking from the train station to the school along my usual route, which took me into an underpass under the main road. As I came down the stairs, I could see that the underpass was completely empty. Then a lone male figure entered the underpass from the other side and walked towards me. He was wearing a bright yellow T-shirt with large black lettering that said, in English, "QUIT YOUR JOB."
He stopped me in my tracks. The message couldn't have been clearer.
Or another example: last Wednesday was my birthday. Wednesday is not a great day for birthday celebrations anyway, and with everything else going on in my life (and my friends' lives), I ended up celebrating my birthday as I've been spending much of my personal time: alone. I had a divine (pun intended) vegetarian lunch at Jyoti-Bihanga and was feeling rather reflective as I considered all the changes in my life over the past year. I was deep in my past when I heard the voice of another diner ring out, clear as a bell. "Where are you going from here?" she asked. I was so sure that she was talking to me that I turned around.
Where am I going from here? Of course I have no idea. But if I get really still and wait, I'm pretty sure the universe will let me know.
Want to be a Sōtō Zen Priest? Fuhgeddaboudit
6 days ago