Trailing my stick I go down to the garden edge,
Call a monk to go out the pine gate.
A cup of tea with my mother,
looking at each other, enjoying our tea together.
In the deep lanes, few people in sight;
the dog barks when anyone comes or goes.
Fall floods have washed away the planks of the bridge;
shouldering our sandals, we wade the narrow stream.
By the roadside, a small pavilion
Where once there used to be a little hill:
it helps our hermit mood;
Country poems pile one sheet on another.
I dabble in the flow, delighted by the shallowness of the stream,
gaze at the flagging, admiring how firm the stones are.
The point in life is to know what’s enough—
Why envy those otherworld immortals?
With the happiness held in one inch-square heart
You can fill the whole space between heaven and earth.
How can we live the spirit of the season without getting caught in the web of myriad doing, purchasing, buying gifts until our eyes bulge from greed, our bodies sag from exhaustion, our heads throb from the pressure of trying to do it all — and for what reason? What would Jesus say anyway, or the Macabees who restored the temple? What is the import of a holy birth or the celebration of an everlasting light?
Do we give in the spirit of what the Three Wise Men brought to the blessed child? Are gifts given to remember that for eight days the single light remained lit in the temple? In the frenzy of modern-day living, do we stop to cherish that which is sacred in our lives? Do we pause to ask ourselves what is valuable to me, that I wish to share it with others?
What brings us back to our values and to the welcoming of the new light? What reminds us of our purpose in this life and how we may fulfill the promise of a “precious human birth,” as the Buddha called it?
Taking time each day for “remembrance,” as the Sufis called it, may be a step on our path to meaningful living. We need to ask what is worthwhile to remember at this time, in this moment. What engenders both a sense of longing and the fullness of becoming? What nourishes that part of me that I may call my soul, my true nature, or my essence? This part of me calls out to me to recall all those kindred beings that bless my life, that make this life worth living, that I am interdependent with, that connect me to others I do not know, and that deepen my bonds to the web of life.
With every breath, I breathe in a host of impression that fills my heart and draws me closer to each leaf, turned yellow glittering in the partial sun, and each bird song fills the trees with musical rhythms that my ears hear recasting my mind state from separation to love. All the precious beings that I catch a glimpse of and hope to see clearly for what they are — I am forever thankful for you. You remind me not to be pulled away in the galloping strides of endless shoppers and superficial exchanges of pleasantries, so easy to be pulled into. I awaken again to this magic moment and all who give and gave their life for me to be living, enjoying all my companions on life’s journey into the mystery. This is enough.
May your holiday be filled with inspiration and promise in 2019.