Wednesday, September 14, 2016


 Got soaked in a sudden storm while waiting for the bus, all of us standing in a small river. Many more people waiting than I'd experienced for quite a while and not nearly enough room in the shelter for two thirds of us.  Some fellow on the edge of us was spewing incoherent invective about Trump, Mexicans and Muslims not directed anywhere just yelling.  A Muslim couple were nearby so I moved toward them and became cheerful and chatty, attempting to entertain others with humorous commentary on the state of the world and how some people just get mad and strike out...trying to diffuse the situation though there was no real danger.  A few others joined in the banter and finally the bus arrived.  Miraculously I got a seat though it was packed to way beyond capacity.  More trouble erupted a few stops on when a big woman, accompanied by an even bigger man just flat out refused to move to the back. The two were blocking the front entrance/exit and clearly too aggressive to be influenced.  I felt sorry for the driver who must have felt the stress even more than we all did.  When the woman with a cane who had been sitting next to me had to get out I just stood up like a circus barker and projected "Make a channel please, this woman has to get out."  They did but when It was my turn to get out along with thirty or so others, the big woman lashed out angrily that she was "trying" to exit and "everyone had just better cool it"....fortunately no one engaged her and, once again, there was no real danger.  However it made me realize how crowd violence happens, how panic and one angry person can cause a stampede.
Then I was at the Zendo
All the way home I was turning over the interview with my Zen teacher.  I was talking to him about my newly diagnosed chronic condition and the dietary changes I've been forced to make.  He had asked, "Are you depressed?"  I paused to consider, then replied "No, not really".....then, as I folded into the evening rush crowd, I began to wonder if I was indeed depressed and simply in denial.  I wondered what would have changed had I said yes...would I have shared all the things I was thinking as I walked...about how most of my life is behind me, about the facts of living so marginally sometimes presenting seemingly dangerous problems.  Would my practice have become more dedicated and sincere, or would I have suddenly radically corrected my inclination to drift away into old habits or just rest in my comfort zone?  I was interrupted by a man needing directions to the subway, then a few more steps and another man needed money for food but I had none so just gave him what I did have, interest in listening to his story.  He wanted to tell me how he lost his food card and how long it would take to get it replaced.  I told him I understood since I'd just lost mine too and was waiting for it to return tomorrow.  We blessed each other in parting.  In moments when I'm interacting I'm no longer alone, but I'm still at the center of my perception even when I'm including a single other, or many others. So where's center?  Could it be that there's no center at all in the larger picture, that center is merely an observation point, the dot before it moves?
Grace brought that topic up in her blog post tonight, and I'm still thinking about it:


Mo Crow said...

I believe that we humans are eyes, hearts and hands working for our beautiful blue and green world

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

this is really quite Something and deserves time for Receiving...
i'll be back later. Really, it's quite Grand, Michelle.

Judy Martin said...

What a beautiful, meaningful, thought provoking post. You are a generous and wise soul. xo

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

each time i read this, it becomes MORE and more potent and more everything.
The beautyFULL vulnerability of things,
the vivid scene of all the wet people crowed together and maybe the
large people just COULDN'T squash themselves further back and they KNEW
they COULDN't because they too were so vulnerable and then how she
said COOL IT....being the Truth for her and for everyone, that everyone
needed to COOL IT and maybe this brought some outer imposed Order of
some kind to the vulnerable and ify moments??????
How "danger" is a part of the interdependant co~arising, how real danger
isn't real unless it becomes real again through that interdependent Co~arising
and it only wasn't real because of that beautyFULL Mercy that humanity somehow finds within its self in spite of it all
and oh, Michelle, this is a teaching story to refer to over and over.
THANK YOU for putting it here

Nancy said...

Oh Michelle...your vulnerability, the world's precious vulnerability is so striking in this telling of yours. I think of you so often, in your corner of the world. Hugs, Nancy

Deb G said...

My circle has been very small lately and I really need to work on expanding it more...this is just so important Michelle. I am very glad that Grace reminded me to come visit. Thank you so much for sharing this. Part of what I value about riding the bus is how it puts me out in the world, a one much more immediate than what is experienced riding in a car. We need more conversations.