Monday, December 05, 2005

Purrfect blog I

Zen mistress Tara, the all-seeing one, alpha cat extraordinaire

Hope you don't mind the gratuitous kitty pic. Actually, my three cats demand equal blog time. So, this is Tara. Not Tara as in "Gone With The Wind." Tara as in the Tibetan Buddhist emanation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, peaceful version (for now, anyway).

OK, Tara, you've had your equal time. Now scram. It's my turn.

I really appreciate and am humbled by those of you who have said that I'm brave to share with you the details of my battle with parathyroid cancer. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Truth is, I'm not brave at all. I'm really scared. Terrified.
This blog is partly a manifestation of that fear. Part of me feels that if I can share with enough people, Fate will stop and say, "Gee, he seems like a really nice, sincere guy," rethink what he (or she) has in store for me, and cut me a huge karmic break. The wand will be waved, and I'll be all better.

Of course, I know this is pure fantasy.

Sometimes, I look upon this disease as a blessing because it has forced me to appreciate things in my life I used to take for granted. Simple things.
I still take these things -- time, friends, the physical ability to pursue my livelihood, interests and hobbies -- for granted. But now, I often catch myself in the act, slow down a bit, and appreciate more. I see the joy in just being able to enjoy a cup of tea. Or having an especially rewarding workout in karate class. Or not feeling guilty about doing absolutely nothing on a Saturday afternoon, even though there's so much I could be doing.

If I had to state a single goal through all that has come, and through all that is to come, it would be to learn to take the good with the bad. To enjoy the beautiful, and to embrace the ugly like water flowing around a rock.
To learn, as I once heard someone say, that life is a bitch. But that some of her puppies are cute.


LBseahag said...

Glad you didn't say Tara Reid..haahaha

Finding your blog has been a blessing to me...
I hide behind my clown's smile.

Life for other people close to me has been hurtful lately. I just close my eyes and get scared of when it will get me the meantime, I have someone I can admire from afar for taking it day by day, and reminding me that strength is something we are not born with, but gain through life experiences...and i admire that...and thank you for changing my life, you know you have.

Mike Cross said...

Hi Michael,

I also live in fear of losing my life the whole time--though sometimes I am more aware of it than others. We are in the same boat. It looks like yours is going to arrive at the far shore before mine--but there again, who knows?

Thanks for your response to my comment. No, I haven't really trained now for about 15 years--although I still remember elements from the old Goju-Ryu warm-up, and I still regard Morio Higaonna Sensei as a very great influence. Above all, he taught me to revere Kata. Zazen became for me an extensiono of the Goju-Ryu kata. Higaonna Sensei called Sanchin kata "kihon no naka no kihon" (what is basic within basics). I came to think of Zazen as "kihon no naka no kihon no naka no kihon." And then as I have begun to understand Alexander thinking, I have come to regard that as "kihon no naka no kihon no naka no kihon no naka no kihon"!! Maybe there is still further to go. Who knows?

I don't remember meeting you at the Zazen dojo. I was one of the first residents there when it opened in 1987. I was kind of in charge of the place in Nishijima Roshi's absence. But I didn't get on with some of the other residents and in the end I left. It was from that time on that I really threw myself into the Shobogenzo translation. I felt it was a job that I could do autonomously, which would be no bad thing given my manifest poor ability to harmonize with others.

I basically did not return to the Zazen dojo after that, although I stayed for a couple of weeks in 1998. Maybe we met then, but I don't remember it.

Thanks again to you too.

Michael said...

Thanks so much, LB and Mike!
LB, your comments really warmed me. A very dear friend of mine once told me that if you see something in someone else that you admire, it's because you see that same quality in yourself. So, thank YOU!
Mike, I'm really glad we've struck up a correspondence. I think everything happens for a reason.
It may have been someone else I met at the zendojo who my faulty memory is confusing with you. At any rate, the important thing to me is that we're corresponding now, and for that I'm grateful.
I understand your comment on kata and zazen. I remember that my first karate teacher -- who remains my dear friend and mentor -- used to say years ago that even when we're not in the dojo, we're practicing karate no matter what we do. Eating. Playing cards. Interacting with people. It's all the same thing.
Only now am I beginning to understand this, and I put the emphasis on beginning.