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.
My father, Allen Medford Fink, died of lung cancer in 1986 at age 72. He was not an easy man. As I explained once to an adult nephew, he was our father, so we wanted to be close to him, but it could be a dangerous place to stand. He taught us to be strong. But as I grow older myself, I can see that if my brother and I are, in our own ways, more gentle, well, he must certainly have given us the seeds of this gentleness as well.
My father was 42 years old when I was born, so he was dead by the time my sons Patrick and Nathan were born. But his presence remains. In the Buddhist cosmology, the “three times” of past, present and future and not as solid as we ordinarily take them to be. Perhaps this is how I know that if he were to meet my sons today, I am certain he would be amazed. I am certain that he would be most pleased.
My father with me, the baby, and my big brother Joe on the lawn of our small house in Detroit in 1958.
Written April 2015 in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah —