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Submitted by KimberlyBrown on Sun, 5/20/2012, 1:25pm
I hate change. If the coffee shop runs out of my usual olive oil cake in the morning, I'm shocked and confused and completely dissatisfied with a croissant or a tarte. When my roommate tells me she's moving in three months, I'm in a panic and wondering if I said the wrong thing to make her move (no, she's relocating out of state) and certain I'll never find a replacement. Last year, I quit my job at a stressful and difficult company, and spent the month after my departure in a state of utter panic and terror while lingering over lovely meals in downtown cafes! Luckily, I find it somewhat amusing that I'm continually shocked at the impermanence of circumstances; I study and practice Buddhism, after all, which emphasizes the ever-changing nature of reality and the unpredictability of the future.
Like most people, my fear of change is rooted in a deep-seated mistrust of what's going to happen next, which can neither be predicted nor directed. Through meditation, I've discovered that most of my thoughts, words, and deeds are directed towards some type of control, strategy or fantasy of future events or feelings. In fact, much of my energy and time is spent trying to manage ways that I can protect myself from danger, failure or disappointment, or attempting to create situations which I think will bring me love, acceptance, and safety.
So I was really surprised when a Zen master, Sokuzan Bob Brown, told us during his visit to IDP last week that "Trust is absolute confidence in not-knowing." It suddenly and intuitively occurred to me that this is the way we're able to realize such concepts as "surrender" or "openness"; not just simply accepting "okay, so I don't know what's going to happen next", but having a sureness in oneself and in the reality of our situation. It is only with such aplomb that one is able to let go of the need to control, stay in the present moment, and relax.
It's going to take repeated contemplation and lots of practice for me to come to a true confidence in not-knowing. But I feel really encouraged and supported by such a teaching, and incredibly grateful for the teacher who gave it to me. Simply considering the possibility that I might be able to put down all my machinations and manipulations and not-hate the ever-changing nature of life is a great and tender relief.
Peace to Everyone Everywhere!
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