Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Vacaton

Today is the Winter Solstice. It is the darkest and shortest day of the year. In view of that, everyone needs to glow today and put a little light into the world!

I wish all of you a blessed and joyous Christmas. I know that not all of you are Christians but I hope the happiness and joy of this time wraps itself around all people of all beliefs. Christmas is traditionally a time when we think about peace. May our world be a more peaceful place in the new year. If all of you who read these thoughts and all of the people you forward them to practice peace within your own lives, peace can spread throughout our world like ripples on a pond after a rock has been cast into its stillness. I would also like to take this time to thank all of you for the many kind notes and personal stories that you have sent me throughout the year. I am grateful for the support and encouragement you give me as well as all the confidences you share with me. I don't really expect responses to what I write but I do get them. If you are an old friend and I haven't heard from you in a while, drop me a line sometime. If you are a stranger, I hope we meet someday.

Those of you who have been reading my thoughts for a few years may occasionally see something that looks familiar. Since I am always getting new readers I sometimes will include something I wrote in the past. Recently when going through my archives I came upon the following story. The memory of that day brought a smile to my face. It's always nice to have these kinds of experiences. They awaken in us the realization that the sum of our lives is made up of special memories and experiences. As I get older the bad experiences of my life are buried and forgotten under the weight of all the special and good experiences. I think I have written enough about Zen so that most of you have some understanding of what it is. For a good understanding of what Zen is, see the quote below from D. T. Suzuki. The experience he is describing is a Zen experience. It's being where you are and doing what you are doing. It's being in the moment and practicing mindfulness. One could say that it's having your mind and your body in the same place at the same time.

Several years ago I drove to eastern Kentucky with a friend to visit a Zen community. It was not a place where you would expect to find such a community. Slightly off the beaten path, there it was. Nestled among the trees was a collection of log cabins and nearby, on top of a small mountain, was a Zen temple. If I didn't know better, I could have imagined myself in Japan. One of the Zen masters gave us a tour of the area. Afterwards we went into the temple and meditated. The front of the temple was open and I had a magnificent view of the surrounding landscape. Hawks were circling in the sky and I felt totally one with everything around me. If only for a brief moment, I was where I was.

Someone sent the following to me yesterday. I thought it was very funny and so I want to share it.


I wanted to share something funny with you.....a reaction to one of your daily thoughts from my friend Marta. She is Italian and she lives in Milan. It is such a joy talking to her and the way she crafts the English language is always amusing to me. I forwarded to her your Wednesday's thoughts from this week and her reply was..."Kimberly, he has a healthy ego, no? Is he the most important man where you are working?"

I have been reading all day, confined to my room, and I feel tired. I raise the screen and face the broad daylight. I move the chair on the veranda and look at the blue mountains. I draw a long breath, fill my lungs with fresh air and feel entirely refreshed. I make tea and drink a cup or two of it. Who would say that I am not living in the light of eternity?-D. T. Suzuki

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