I was looking out across the valley toward Cooke’s Peak, rising to over 8,000 feet and making a perfect, black silhouette on the horizon. Behind it the emerging colors announced the approach of dawn. North and south of it lower hills also cast their black forms against the sky. I sat in my office with my feet on another chair, watching it all. A funny sort of happiness began to well up inside me, a grateful joy. There it was, in all its beauty. Of course, it didn’t have to be there, and science and history could explain how it got there, but nothing but gratitude can grasp WHY it is there. It is just there—and that alone is enough for rejoicing.
I began my Zazen, trying to sit and count breaths, returning to 1 when I got distracted. I finally just gave up and made each breath the first one in a series of one. It was easier that way. My monkey mind would wander and I would lose that bubbly sort of joy at the “isness” of things instantly. And then it hit me! Monkey mind lives in the past, with its regrets and its olive wreaths of glory, or it lives in the future, constantly projecting a fleeting image onto it in hope or fear. But the body does neither of these. The body calmly carries the scars of the past, and can be harnessed by the psyche to express he fears of the future, but such things are foreign to its being. The body lives in the Now. Yesterday does not exist for it, neither tomorrow; not even the very next moment or the one that has passed. It has just the same majestic “isness” as Cookes’s Peak.
Thank God for our bodies and for all the material realm, for by it we touch the realm of the eternal Now of God!