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Inside Truths

Aug 11, 2005

And the fortress of these days is surrounded by a welcome army of remarkable people who work very hard and live by very simple truths. I listen to their work and hear their truths. And somehow this helps drag me closer to my own- sometimes holding me by the hand- but more often by the ear. One of the most wonderfully uncomfortable things about telling other people's stories is that it forces me to look harder at my own. And every shining truth that I stumble upon along the way and don't then pocket into my own life, slips into my shoe like a small, sharp pebble. A constant reminder as I walk- of what I am trying to forget I know. Until finally I bolster up enough courage and humility to stop and bend down, shake my shoe until the pebble falls out. And this time I pick it up and hold it in the palm of my hand as I continue walking (which doesn't meant to say I don't drop it every now and then).

If only it were that simple! To string Truth on a thread and wear it around our necks like a talisman, a good-luck charm.

It is difficult to convey the importance of all this to puppies and butterflies- but why would I need to? They live it better than I can explain it. And besides, I am beginning to grow aware of the tiredness that creeps in with too much talking.

I wonder sometimes if the gods grow impatient of our endless singing of their virtues. Do they raise their eyebrows and say without saying- This is all very well but will you please get on with it? Because admiration isn't supposed to be a destination, it's the ladder-rungs, it's where you rest your feet as you climb. You're not meant to turn praise-singing into a passive and permanent occupation- or you miss its point. Because in the end Imitation truly is the Sincerest form of Flattery...which is maybe what the Buddha meant when he said When you find something truly good in the world make it yours.

I am beginning to see just how difficult it is for me to do that. Finding something truly good in the world is never hard. But it's not enough to point a delighted, amazed, gratified finger at it and say- Look! (which I think is what I tend to do a great deal of the time). Because Truth isn't a spectator sport. It isn't a 4th of July sky. It isn't an impermanent discovery dazzling and short-lived.

Am beginning to understand that when I find Truth outside it's always an incomplete discovery, one that doesn't wholly count until I find it- within.

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."