Riding to Retreat…

I remember when I turned twenty-five in 1972, thinking it was cool that I was a quarter of a Century old. Now I’m close to being 3/4 of a century old. That’s pretty cool too. A lot of water has passed under that bridge. And in 1972 I was somewhat sophisticated in underworld ways, and a total idiot socially, culturally and sexually. Although I had been steeped in the ways of the streets and had experienced many things I was still a child in terms of society and how most people experience life. I had done a lot of things by that age that most people can’t imagine doing or having done too them. I was an innocent, a fool and fairly clueless. Still am, and I’ve been very very fortunate, all things considered.

After I got sober in 1983 and started getting serious about my Buddhist practice for a number of years, I had occasion to be on a ten hour drive up to the Six Rivers National Forest to go on a week-long retreat at a Hermitage of our Order of monks. I had as passenger a Zen Buddhist Master whose lay disciple I had become. On the drive I had opportunity to divulge huge amounts of burdensome things that I had done, committed or had done to me. As my recitation was winding down, The Master commented, “You have had some astoundingly good merit in your life” or words to that I effect.

I sputtered, “Haven’t you been listening to all the stuff I’ve been telling you? You consider that ‘Good Merit’?”

He said, “Look where you are and where you are going”.

I got it!

Sometimes I forget it for a bit, but regain my perspective.

Gratitude and Compassion

Flowing Inward. In time it

Flows Outward and then

Continues On and on and on.

Set into motion Compassion

Flows in all directions. That

Is Its Basic Nature and

Condition. I can’t aim it.

The Heart pumps In.

The Heart pumps Out.

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