Thursday, November 19, 2020



Moses parting the Red Sea. Jesus turning water into wine. Buddha standing up and taking seven steps immediately after his birth. These minor miracles don’t interest me at all.


But the one I experienced today confirmed, as many similar miracles have before, that this world is mysterious, unfathomable and there are unseen hands and unheard voices guiding us in their own inexplicable way. Not with bells and whistles and visions of the Virgin Mary and oil lasting beyond its normal shelf length. Smaller, more intimate, less world-shattering and more, “Well, isn’t that interesting?”


Like this morning. For decades, I have woken in the morning and gone straight to the meditation pillow to ease myself into the day with good posture and attentive breath and the sense of awakening with the dawn. Lately, I’ve noticed that those slyly evil voices of the electronic Sirens trying to lure me to my doom have been succeeding a bit, as I sometimes check my phone texts or e-mail or Facebook before sitting my morning zazen. But today, I passed them all by and while sitting on the cushion, tried to recall a haiku that expressed the proper order of things in a life well-lived. And thought that perhaps later I would search for it.


Meanwhile, it would have been my Dad’s 102ndbirthday today and to honor the occasion, I was curious if I wrote anything about his last birthday on earth back in 2006. So after zazen, I found that year’s journal and lo and behold… (Hollywood-miracle-approaching-movie-music here)… it opens with that very haiku!!!!! 


These are the kinds of miracles that interest me. Two seemingly random thoughts met and appeared together in the full depth of some mysterious connection. A world that appears to be random and chaotic and utterly incomprehensible reveals these hidden links that thread together. 


And the haiku? 

The messenger

Offers the branch of plum blossoms

And then the letter. 

-      Kikaku


Nature first. Take in the color, the fragrance, the beauty and then—and only then— turn to the world of human affairs. Smell the flowers, then read the letter, respond to the letter. And then get out of the house and observe yet more miracles— the leaves following their appointed schedule of turning colors, the rain returning to relieve the thirsty grass, the simple fact of being alive to witness and partake of it all. The miracles that count. 

And now, to my mail.

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