Some musings on walking and standing still and being filled up by grace:

Many times, doing my practice, as I stand there, in my office, or in my living room, or in the forest, I imagine how Saint Francis felt. There he is, walking barefoot in the forest, burlap sack for clothing, unadorned, bare before God. Like an exposed nerve to the elements. A transparent lightning rod for grace. Laughing and crying, wandering through the forest, like a madman in love. Penetrated by reality.

When I stand there, touching into what is most important to me, often it takes a while to let go of all of my scheming. To strip down my awareness. To become brutally honest. To face what is happening, and throw away any idea of how things should go. I gradually give up control, give up my clever ideas or ambition or fake ideas of myself. I turn inward rather than throwing myself toward these shadows. I let go of any sense of building chi. And in that giving up, in that falling into sincerity, something greater catches me. Anything I could have conjured up, anything I had tried to create, they are irrelevant to what unfolds. It is like some transcendent force, or grace takes over, and I am just a puppet, possessed by it.

There was a time in Japan when I felt I’d lost everything. I’d hit rock bottom. And then something immense lifted me, reframed me, made me change direction. Over time, my faith in that force, that grace has grown. I trust it, I long for it. It is my constant guide. Confronting reality as it is, meeting it, this guide is always present. Avoiding the moment, I am blocked from this light. I am a child to this connection. I am bowed down, receiving it is my life and goal and way. It is me and I am its vehicle. My mission is to express it and share it. I am nothing without it. Falling into it is walking forward. Turning away from it is stumbling, falling. I became a Zen monk. And in that process somehow I fell in love with God. Something beyond religion. There is no Corey, no Ichigen. Call it what you like. Grace, Dharma, Mu, Buddha, Qi, Zazen, God… There is only this light, and I am bare before it in love.

Please keep going in your practice. Please keep becoming more honest.

More on Saint Francis later…