the storm-swept sea of passion,
those who live in accord
with the well-taught Way
arrive at the beyond. ~
The Buddha, Dhammapada v 86
I remember that feeling as almost a holy insistence. The clear beacon of a found star I sighted nearly six years ago when I landed on a date for the move from my birthplace in the United States to the home I’d found in Canada. Although my schemes and invocations had laid out a path of sorts for this life changing event it was in the choosing of a square on a calendar that gave my decision to leave all I knew its momentum and clarity. It felt as if in that end of deliberation the universe stepped from the darkened wings of my life and escorted me toward a journey that would forever claim a new trajectory in the orbit of my existence.
That feeling is with me again, the knowing of purpose that came with another choice made yesterday morning as I sat in meditation. It was a choosing that I have been toying with for quite some many months, a stilling of the silty waters of the lotus pond to see a clear broadening of the direction I have set out upon as I make my way along the path of the Dhamma. The mire of wondering and planning, of calculations and lurking fears for now seems to have abated and in its place is the sure footing of patient fortitude.
With my plans fixed on a new brilliant star my Buddhist friends tell me the Dhamma may conspire to advance my journey, moving the winds and parting the seas of this world to celebrate my decision, to clear the path I must take to surrender fully into the teachings of the Buddha. And yet it is also the time when Mara, the demon tempter, may toss storms and doubts in my way with all manner of dukkha, the cravings and dangling jewels of the all too ripe fruits of the world.
For now I feel the weighted promise of a sextant’s knowing of the sky before me. The stars laid out in perfect equations, their missive written on the vast waters of this sea of presence, harkening me forward in a casting beyond my vision, but not beyond my heart.
On land one is surrounded on all sides by recognizable objects.
But when one enters the sea, the back is turned to
recognizable objects and the face to something else.
from American Poetry: Wildness and Domesticity by Robert Bly (New York: Harper and Row, 1990), 37.
Stars by Fabio Ricco via Flickr Creative Commons