Days keep moving by – tragedies keep occurring – new lives, new deaths; every moment billions of opportunities, possibilities slip by . . . some lived, some forgotten . . . all foam on the sea.
Amidst this flow I search for something more permanent, more solid than this ever-changing sea of hype, sales and consumption . . . endless wants . . . endless desires . . . this car, this dress, this shoe, this PC, this song, this book, this meditation . . . Are they all simply continuous expressions of endless desire? Desire that cannot be satisfied until it rests in God (as Augustine said) or desires that rest only when one sees behind the force of ignorance that kindles the flames of desire, if they ever waver.
Yet, it is desire that keeps the world alive, moving, creating. My father and my wife’s father have both seemingly lost that desire and one can now only slowly watch as they sink very slowly towards death – without desire why live?
Is it then good desires that are necessary? Desires that create, free, energize others to create more life, more possibility? If so, don’t we owe a pledge of gratitude to the creators of all the information we are bombarded with every day – from Hollywood, to sports, to politics, to blogs, to the internet, to . . .
This incessant stream that cannot be stopped . . . should we say a prayer and be grateful?
OR is the goal (perhaps A goal) to be able to stop this incessant search driven by desire; and dwell in the ever full moment with appreciation – wanting nothing more than “just this” as the Zen monk Ryokan says while playing ball with the children in the village . . .
So many brilliant thinkers out there now and from the past . . . thinking so hard and with so many answers and yet . . .
What is my spot? my role? my gift? my calling?
Not as a leading thinker delineating the best solution to the latest world problem . . . or criticizing actions of the government or corporations . . .
Not as an artist creating images or stories that expand, challenge, transform the audience . . .
Not as a priest/rabbi/monk/lama teaching their flock the pathway to God or enlightenment – toward emptiness, bodhichitta, union with God . . .
But perhaps as a LISTENER, who hears these many voices (not all, of course, that is why we need many, many listeners) and strives to appreciate their individual message, their answer, their view in order to ensure that these diverse views are embraced at least for a moment – not all views can be embraced, of course, since some only strive to separate and dominate . . . yet they still must be heard . . . yet, to listen most carefully to those that strive to create, to enhance, to love this world . . .
Immediately I wonder – what good does that do? What can a listener do? They are so passive! Perhaps a listener can hear new things unheard even by the speaker, by the creator, by each person so caught up in the midst of their lives . . .
listening anew . . .
listening for the new . . .
And I can listen anywhere, to anything and strive to find that novelty, that breath of freshness that each of us brings to the world.
Is this my calling, my possibility? If so, what is the discipline, what must I do next?
Perhaps the message from this calling of listening is that everyone, even everything, every moment has something to teach me, if I listen to each moment with enough warmth and love and interest – like Milarepa sitting on the meditation pillow with his hand to his ear – if I listen with that level of intensity I am sure I will hear something new, I will learn something from every encounter, and in turn perhaps the speaker, the communicator, the writer, who is actually listened to will in turn be transformed as well . . .