transparency of water

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Many teachers point out that our suffering is crucial to our transformation.  Lotuses begin their life in the mud.  We are asked to be patient as we steep in that mud, have faith in the nutrients of the slime and ooze of our attachments.  I’m ok with slime and ooze.  But I’ve struggled with faith (maybe I wouldn’t have if I had read Sharon Salzberg’s book more attentively?).  Faith requires me to accept that there is something possible; it also requires me to be at ease with change.  That is much to ask of someone in whose life change is just a harbinger of more pain.  I need to have faith in something more calming.

Contemplating the nature of mind and self, we know the quality of our mind is as if we have stirred up a glass of water mixed with mud (slime and ooze, again).  Left alone, the mud settles and we can see the water clearly.  That clarity is the true nature of mind.  As I contemplate this glass of muddy water, I am aware it is so frequently stirred up that I may as well just call it what it is: muddy water.  And yet, whatever water may contain, it is always clear.  Water does not possess the mud; it does not cling to it.  Water does not obscure the mud; it does not become an obstacle to looking deeply.

The transparency of water is the very reason we can see the mud, see the settling, see the clarity whether or not it splits into water and mud (which it doesn’t).  Even in the lower part that is mud, it is just that: clear as mud.  It is held by water.  The transparency of water provides us with clarity of the nature of our muddiness.  It is always clear; we are always pure.  It is always Home.

Thank you, Jack, for practicing,


3 thoughts on “transparency of water

  1. Water holds the mud by its polar nature. The degree ( larger than 6) connects the molecules. What looses the bonds of attraction to reveal the clear water? Impermanence???

    • 🙂 Hi Janice. Interesting cross-over comment. I’ll stay with the metaphor rather than electrochemistry of molecular bonds, if you don’t mind! 😉

      Your comment recalls for me the question Dogen posed: when washing away the sand from rice, are we removing the sand or collecting the rice? I don’t view impermanence as something external to us that exerts force to break our grasping. All things are active in their natural state and that activity has results and outcomes. IOW, it is the nature of all things to change. We label the process “impermanence” but in fact there is nothing permanent for anything to be “im”permanent. In the context of practice, we cannot separate the clarity of insight from the object because the former emerges through interaction of self and object. Wallowing in mud, the clarity of our view allows us to see (or not see) the reality of our situation just as the clearness of water allows us to see the mud – that it is mud.

      My life? Clear as mud! 😆

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