Waking up was no change from going to sleep, in terms of her trepidation. There wasn’t any particular worry on her mind, only the gnawing, growing discomfort of the world on a precipice of transformation that was shakier than any of her lived memory. The uncertainty was not welcome in her old age, where she had less energy, power and timeframe to do anything about it. But the day was at hand. Scrolling through the more than 20 pieces of trash email that appeared in her inbox Zero overnight there was only one worth exploring, and maybe it was prescient, given her mood. From the Institute for Zen Leadership, it was a newsletter on being Bodhisattva:
Beings are numberless, I vow to save them;
Desires are inexhaustible, I vow to end them;
Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them;
Buddha’s way is unsurpassable, I vow to become it
It’s impossible of course, but it seemed the only way forward to her. It reminded her of the Starfish Story and hadn’t she always calmed her existential fears by throwing beings back into the life-giving waters? It’s just as she got older she began to question all the action. Maybe for her being thrown meant sitting still and inviting death of all kinds to challenge her, meeting it with calm.
As she reflected on her view of the San Francisco Bay, while drinking her daily cup of jasmine tea, something in her center shifted. A bird flew by, then a plane on its trajectory to the Airport, while all the trees remained barely moving in the light wind. Today was a tree day. Her competing, customary thought that she “should do something about that'' melted in the face of holding loving equanimity in a shifting world.
She was reminded of the old philosopher’s joke she loved:
“To be is to do”—Socrates.
“To do is to be”—Jean-Paul Sartre.
“Do be do be do”—Frank Sinatra
She smiled as she felt her breath move her old belly in and out in and out.