Blessing in the Chaos

Dec 11th, 2018

Image copyright: Daria Nepriakhina

To all that is chaotic in you,
let there come silence.
Let there be a calming
of the clamoring,
a stilling of the voices that
have laid their claim on you,
that have made their home in you,
that go with you even to the
holy places
but will not let you rest,
will not let you hear your life with wholeness
or feel the grace that fashioned you.
Let what distracts you cease.
Let what divides you cease.
Let there come an end
to what diminishes
and demeans,
and let depart all that keeps you
in its cage.
Let there be an opening
into the quiet that lies beneath
the chaos,
where you find the peace
you did not think possible
and see what shimmers
within the storm.

Jan L.Richardson,”Blessing in the Chaos,” from “The PaintedPrayerbook” –

In Zen practice we see that whatever we can think of as liberation must be inside the context of our life.  Liberation is understood as an appropriate response to the causes and conditions currently expressing themselves in this moment.  So we practice not to escape our reality, but to respond to it in liberative ways.  Our practice is not to solve, resolve, overcome, or escape our experience, but instead it is to enter into relationship with this moment completely and fully. 

So often we think healing is something outside of this practice.  That to be healed is to not suffer, or to escape our pains.  The more I practice, the more I settle, the more I experience here and now, the more I realize that I am healed when I can meet my suffering and not be knocked over by it or be dragged around by it. 

Each moment arises and passes away.  If I cling onto some idea about healing, some idea of escape, I dragged that into the next arising.  If I simply meet it as it is, without my ideas, judgements, or desires clinging to it, the next minute is liberated to be whatever it is. And so on and so on. 

So how do we do that?  I find that if I can bless each moment, each pain, each thing.  If I can make friends in this body/mind with this embodiement, I tend to struggle less with what is happening.  Meditation helps me do this.  It’s not that meditation is our practice, meditation helps us practice.  We settle the body/mind so that we can meet each thing and respond appropriately.  Liberation, that moment of appropriate response, that is our practice.

And those moments when we can’t? Those moments we forget that we are Buddha, or we forget that the person across from us is Buddha, or those moments when we realize that we missed the mark?  We just try again.  We can apologize when our missing the mark harms ourselves or others, and amend the situation and we try again.  The old adage of “Fall down seven times get up eight” is useful here.  We will always screw it up.  We will always have moments of chaos.  But if we let them teach us, if we bless them and move on from them, then that is a moment of appropriate response that moves us into the next appropriate response. 

So bless your chaos, feed your demons, learn to apologize and make amends, and keep practicing.  Liberation is right here, especially since right here is all we get.


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