In my last post I talked about finding a place of peace and zen with dusting.
Well, I didn’t exactly lie: on that day at that time in that moment and as I thought it and believed it and felt it and wrote it, it was true.
The dusting was done. I was at one with it. Accepting of the sneezing. I saw the dust mite connections of all life; I was one with knowing that dusting is a thing that needs to be done, like going to sleep and waking up, like going to the bathroom, like brushing your teeth. So I was good with it. Found my OM, found my dusting centre, found that place of Zen-infused dust-bunny-be-gone enlightenment. Do it and it will be done.
That was honest.
Then it fell from my mind and I lost it.
Not only lost it, but lost faith that I had it.
And not only lost faith that I had it, but lost faith that I had it in the first place or would ever have that oneness or peace with dusting ever again.
Faith is an odd term to put next to Zen, but it’s instructive in this case. I generalized a single time to all times; I extrapolated a single moment to always and forever. I reached the wrong conclusion and built a belief around it.
That moment was only a moment. It did not in any way, shape, or form mean that it would be carried over into the NEXT moment of dusting, or the next, or the next. My dusting Zen had vanished, disappeared. I had faith that it — my dusting Zen — would always exist. The utter antithesis of everything and anything Buddhist, of anything Zen — expecting something, anything to last forever, to be permanent.
Clearly my hopefulness grew into a declaration, a proclamation of enlightenment.
I expected every single dusting session to be the same. I’d be open to the moment; I’d be mindful, expecting nothing except that I will dust and let arise whatever will arise and pay it no mind: focus on the dusting, not the sneezing. Be in the moment of dusting.
That so did not happen. I approached dusting with the expectation of going immediately to that place of transcendence, of enlightened dusting practice and therefore it would be that way every step of the way for the rest of my dusting life. I naively approached dusting with expert mind, full of everything for the task at hand except what was needed: beginner’s mind and being open to raw practice. And this from someone who is supposed to know that sitting on that mediation pillow is simply creating the space for whatever needs to arise will arise, be noticed and then let go.
It is said in some Buddhist traditions that at first a river is a river, then as you move through your practice a river becomes a metaphor for everything and you grow dark and stormy and perhaps a little bit lost as you wrestle with the river and its monsters and then you have a moment when you see it all so sparkling and clear, and you next look look at that river and you see what it is and what it has always been: a river. Such is enlightenment.
A river. Dust. A feeling of oneness, of groundedness: honest in one moment. And I was so happy to have that moment that I wrote about it thinking it a permanent state. Such is writing. What you think is true today, can change tomorrow. What was true that day for me is not true today. That truth is now a lie.
As for dusting: I will never be one with it. Ever. And that dear readers is the bare, spartan, Zen-infused truth of the matter.