Sunday, December 16, 2007


He who can see the inward in the outward, to him the inward is more inward than to him who can only see the inward in the inward. —HENRY SUSO, German mystic (1295-1366)

When I read this it struck a chord, but I don't know why. Reflecting on it since, it seems to mean that I can see the spiritual in the everyday, indeed that there is no difference. I've always resisted the idea that spirituality is something other than 'ordinary', except that perhaps I've lost the knack of seeing the 'ordinary' for what it truly is.

Over the last few days I've heard from two people I know, both of whom are in the grip of what can only be called 'dire straits', just situations of everyday grimness and plain misery involving the suffering of third parties, and the impotence that goes with trying to care when care doesn't seem to be working. One said that she just wanted to "throw in the towel"; the other said she couldn't stop shaking....."I need help".

Neither of these saw Buddhism as a refuge, a place to go for respite or comfort or relief, although both have followed the path for several years. Both, however, had the pluck and the insight to write to someone about their predicament. Without being pretententious or preachy about it, it seems to me that both were Buddha at that time, are Buddha now. Their momentary insight says everything that needs to be said about awareness, about loving kindness, about despair, and what we do with it, and the rest. The external and the internal. Svaha.

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