Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

n the window of my apartment, there is a little fountain that I made. It’s not hard to tell that I made it, because it consists of a fair sized white pasta bowl filled with smooth black rocks, sitting on top of a cement pedestal. A small fish tank pump is buried under the rocks, and sends water burbling up over them.

When I came back to my apartment after travelling, the fountain was turned off, and all the rocks inside were dusty and dry. The larger rocks were streaked with white precipitate. My brother, Christopher, had been staying in my apartment while I traveled. He turned the fountain off because the constant sound of the running water made him want to pee.

I looked into the fountain and saw a rock that I had forgotten about. It’s a brown round rock, about the size of a big yoyo. It fits into the hand with a nice weighty solidity. Carved on it is the word TRUST.

I bought that rock last Christmas. I hadn’t set out to buy that rock. I had been commissioned by my sister Anne to go and find a rock with the word LISTEN on it for my Dad. Dad had asked for a rock with the word LISTEN on it as a Christmas gift, something that he could put on his desk to remind him to pay attention to those around him. Christopher suggested that the best way to use that rock with the word LISTEN on it would be to wing it at my Dad’s head. That would probably get him to LISTEN alright.

I finally found a store that sold rocks with words carved on them. (New York really does have everything). But when I found Dad’s LISTEN rock, I also saw this TRUST rock, and realized that it was for me. This is how my Christmas shopping usually goes – one for you, one for me. On a good day one for you, two for me.

When I found the TRUST rock, I had just quit work and didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I was going through career guidance books, and helpful men were trying to coach me on attaining my next set of goals. But a number of women I had talked to who went through transitions told me “just do whatever the hell you want to, and your next path will make itself clear.” I really liked that advice and had resolved to take it, but I had trouble trusting that things would unfold right. I brought the rock as a sort of prayer made physical, a prayer for me to let go of trying to figure out the endpoint and to simply trust the process of change.

On my trip, I tried as hard as to refrain from looking for a “big picture” or a worthy ultimate goal. I tried to stay as present to all of my experiences as possible, not projecting into the future or dwelling in the past. Well, you’ve had the dubious pleasure of following me through the journey, so you’ll know that I was not smashingly successful. I will probably always have a greater affinity with Professor Monkey and Iron Karl than I do with a true free spirit.

But when I got back to my apartment and saw the dusty streaked rock lying in the unused fountain, I realized that the even though I was back in my old digs, the journey had brought me to a new place. The prayer of that rock had been answered – I have a lot more trust in this process than I did when I left.

I don’t trust that “everything will work out.” I figure that right now, I am in a kind of blessed oasis, and that sooner or later, life will lower the boom and I’ll be smacked a good one, and left reeling. I’ve seen too many good people get served up horribly undeserved things to expect that life will always be good if I just have the right attitude. But I do trust that being open to change, being confused and unsure and flexible, is in harmony with the nature of this world. I trust that if we have any purpose here, it must include being who we are in the places that we find ourselves. I trust that if I remain in the joyful, painful present, that if remain open to the experiences of my life without the need to analyze from whence they came, and control whither they are going, then I may just manage to remain alive until I die.

Thanks for accompanying me on this journey.


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About Tom Weiser
This blog is devoted to the development of the Bad Lama's Guide to Meditation.

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