The Shambhala teachings speak of “effortless effort,” the quality of effort without struggle. I’ve never been very good at this myself – at one point in my career my nickname was “the bulldozer.” But I’m workin’ on it…
This poem speaks to it as will a “Reflection” that I’ll publish soon.
none of those things
there’s a voice in my head
that drives me to try,
to seek to change the shape
of the world, the insidious
insistence that simply living
within this life is
knee deep in the stream,
nothing I do seems to alter its course.
my hands grow numb
from holding back the water,
from trying to force it
back up the mountain.
we manufacture none of those things
that might actually
drop the sharp tools, the knives
and the snaggle-toothed saws.
the heart’s work is to stop
to this day completely,
to bear witness — come,
let’s find ourselves a hillside
and watch the gathering of the clouds.
the grass here is cool beneath our feet.
perhaps in the deep night
the waters will again begin to rise,
but for today,
ours is but to abide,
and await the coming of the rains.
Lovely, just lovely. Abiding is good! But struggling knee deep in the waters, trying to do the impossible, is more typical, isn’t it?
Yep, and in this arises samsara…
Jeff, Once in a while your introduction impacts me more than the poem. I suppose it’s because the poem is your observation, reflection, and experience. Sometimes I am there and sometimes not. “Effortless effort” hit home, because it seems to be such a reach, an effort to be effortless. We are pushed out of the nest and then pulled back, and then we pass on the same modality. Generations of this push, pull teach the traveler to strive, to attain, to advance, to retreat. “None of These Things.” You reminded me to “consider the lilies of the field”.
It’s a pleasure to see your poems appear. Keep on and thanks.
Me Too An Idiot
Under the crowded skies, Under the blowing leaves, I squint at my glowing rectangle To find out the weather.
Oh man Alex, perfect! See you next week…