Close to the Ground: The Secret of Abiding Joy

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I’m sitting, watching Parker perform her first dance masterpiece. Its baseline is a collection of moves from her gymnastics class. She has layered on top of these most of the components of the sun salutation as well as some ferocious wing fluttering and shimmying. Periodically she stops cold for a few beats—a two-year-old’s interpretation of a Philip Glass composition. Her grin couldn’t be bigger. Sometimes it explodes into a giggle of pure happiness. I am thrilled for her.Parker’s great fun is reminding me of an important Zen teaching that often gets swept under our meditation mats: that our job is to dance with life. We seem to be forgetting this aspect of the tradition, even though it is woven into many of the classic stories taught by our teachers. A favorite of mine has to do with the great Zen Master Hakuin and one of his students. Hakuin was known for his seriousness and ferocious personality. At the same time he also had a sweet spot in his heart for the ordinary people living in the villages around him. As a result they would often visit him, even though many a formal Zen student feared his pre …

From Geri: This is my last column for Spirituality & Health. It is time to step aside for the next generation. A deep bow to all the staff of this magazine and to all its readers. It’s been a great ride.

About the Author

Geri Larkin is the founder and former head teacher of Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple, a Zen meditation center in the heart of...

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This entry is tagged with:
JoyHappinessZen BuddhismBuddhismSocial Issues