"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I've generally preferred sitting at hours when Ripley is asleep in her house, but Day 2 of the sitting experiment occurred on a "furlough Friday" and I had an early morning class at the gym, so I ended up sitting plumb in the middle of the day. Ripley is an avid power-napper throughout the day, but when the sun is up she's likely at any moment to spring wide awake ready to protect the herds from invading Normans, or the Hound of the Baskervilles, or Luftwaffe, or the UPS guy.
Frankly my head was a mess most of last week. Buzzing like a hive of worker bees about to go on strike. Making up imaginary versions of real people and rehearsing endless arguments with them, and arguing about arguments. This happens to me, to some degree, about once a month. This last lunar revolution, though...holy hormones batman (so THAT'S why sitting on Monday was fun, and sitting on Thursday, not so much.)
As I tried to sit on Friday, the head dialogues sometimes degenerated into random word generation, and from there into a sort of word mush - like the noise of a lot of people talking mostly unintelligibly in another room.
It's easy to get quite put out with oneself, and ones noisy, messy, annoying head, under these circumstances. And Ripley seemed to think it was noisy too, because every thirty seconds she had to stand at attention and bark, at the door, at me, at the cat, a butterfly flapping its wings in Ecuador...whatever. I thought, ah Ripley, I wish she'd stop barking, but it's what she does. I'd say 'Tssst!' to her and she would stop for a minute, and I would go back to obsessing about how annoying the inside of my head was. Then she grabbed one of her toys, came over to where I was sitting , and started pushing it at me - right in the gut, since I was sitting on the floor. Nudge. Look for reaction. Nudge. Look for reaction. Nudge. This struck me as quite funny all of a sudden. I took the toy from her and scratched her head and rubbed her velvety ears. She stretched herself out against my knees and laid down. Reclining Buddha (at least the smile, if not quite the same arrangement of limbs).
It's easy to muster lovingkindness for my barking dog, she's so cute and furry. Maybe I could have a little more compassion for my barking head. Ripley Roshi also gave me a koan to work with - "how much IS that doggie in the window, arf arf?"