If you follow along this blog – rather painstakingly some days I’d guess – you know I talk about Zen Koans a lot. In “The Spy Who Loved Me”, Carly Simon sang “I wasn’t looking, but somehow you found me.” That’s exactly how it was, and is, with the Koans and me. And if “spying” becomes something else, a verb falling through the looking-glass, that’s exactly the way it is with the Koans and me. They’re spying into my heart.
Spying as kindness. What if the breeze blowing through bare branches is spying into your heart? What if your junk mail is spying into your heart? What if your favorite t-shirt, or sweatshirt, or sweater, when you slip it on, is spying into your heart? A robin’s song spying into your heart? What if your grandchild’s or niece’s or foster kid’s big eyes of wonder, staring right at you, is spying into your heart?
Last weekend I dropped via Zoom into a Zen meeting in Colorado. One of the Koans being considered was this – “Each being’s eternal radiance appears before us; each being is an 8000 foot precipice.” Like with all the Koans, more than 1700, I am entirely clueless about what that means. How to understand it. But the first half – “Each being’s eternal radiance appears before us” has come to spy into my heart. Has pitched its tent. Has moved into the apartment upstairs, and the apartment downstairs, and is making a neighborly racket all day and all night.
When I went out on the early walk yesterday morning, the Koan came along – the way they do – spying through my eyes – Do I see this one’s eternal radiance? This one’s? That one’s? Not my favorite barista next door’s radiance, but the new kid, dorky and rather lost and likely to create a line and make me wait? Her eternal radiance?
Maybe the answer to all these questions, to all this spying into my heart, and your heart, is simply 8000 feet. Honestly, you got me. I do know there’s something like generosity all about.