August 18 – Settling into the Wait – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Be serene in the oneness of things and erroneous views will disappear by themselves.” Seng-Ts’an

I am sitting in Bryant Park in New York City as I write this. It is summer and the tall oaks all lean south for some reason. It is midday and everyone is slouching in the heat. There are professional lunchers, German tourists, old men dozing, and the homeless muttering to themselves as sparrows flit, their chirp some message no one can encode.

At times life seems an enormous waiting room with no destination, in which some walk stiffly to and fro, waiting for the pain to stop. Others wait for something good to happen. Still others fear that something bad will begin. The driven plan, while they wait. I am each of them.

It is such a struggle—has always been—for each of us to settle deep enough into the wait, into the weight till we discover that there’s nowhere to go.

Perhaps the greatest challenge, once fully awake, is to drop all reaching and simply open like a clam waiting in the deep until life in all its guises floods through the half-closed center that is us.

Then God enters us like a brilliant stone falling in a lake, and the past ripples behind us, and the future ripples before us, and we are breathing in eternity.

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