I’ve been contemplating the positive correlation between hiding one’s light under a bushel and wimpiness. When I was a child, my father said, “Work hard. Excel. And you will be chosen.” So I did. And it has been a never-ending source of confusion to me that no one has yet anointed me the Chosen One. I’m sure you are just as surprised. About your own absence of anointment, I mean; because I’m quite sure you too have worked hard, excelled, and waited to be chosen.
Or perhaps, it’s not so much about being chosen but about being seen. Perhaps it’s about being valued. Appreciated? Or is it about being acknowledged, that briefest of nods our way that says: Well done.
Now, I’m not whining. Truly. I’m wondering about those moments when I’m caught between stepping out and showing my talents or stepping back and avoiding opportunity denied. I always thought it would be terribly self-centered to do the former and yet could not bear the thought of the latter. So I suspect over the years I’ve done this silly awkward dance, hauling that little light of mine out with one hand and having the bushel poised over it in the other.
End result: A wimpish waltz with fate.
What to do? I’ve started reading a rather captivating book on Zen practice sent along for review* which has a few nuggets about this and that. What caught me however, though the author himself doesn’t write of this relationship between busheled lights and the wimp factor, is the issue of self-centeredness. He notes that zazen is the slowing down of this self-centered mind-body chattering we live out.
Yes, you read it right. It is the chattering that is self-centered. Not the stepping out or the appropriate proclamation of one’s expertise, goodness, rightness, capability, and power.
The mind is self-centered. Autogenic: it creates itself in the world it creates. And, if we lack awareness, of the mind-body link, the body follows close at its heels.
That’s quite the revelation for me. Now the real problem: what shall I do with all these bushels?
*The review will be published sometime in June.