Message from Henry: Pushing

Isn’t it a relief to have found a practice that doesn’t respond at all to pushing? It’s a granite rock, implacable, unmoveable. Try to push ahead and it just pushes back. Utterly stubborn.

Thinking back over the eight or so books I published when I was busy as a writer, I remember that some were “pushed” and some weren’t. “Pushing” meant that the publishers made efforts to get bookstores to stock them, to get reviewers to review them, and so on. The two or three books that seemed to go best in the world had the least pushing. They were able to find their own way.

Can it be like that in our lives more generally? Our culture seems to encourage “pushing.” The Protestant ethic favors efforts to “get ahead.” But ahead of what? Others, perhaps? These days many are turning toward more cooperative and collaborative approaches.

Isn’t it a relief to have found a practice that doesn’t respond at all to pushing? It’s a granite rock, implacable, unmoveable. Try to push ahead and it just pushes back. Utterly stubborn.

Back in the seventh century the monk Myo pursued Huineng, who had been given the robe of succession. When Myo caught up with him, Huineng put the robe down on a rock and told him he was free to take it. Myo tried to, but couldn’t lift it. At that moment he realized that he didn’t want the robe, he wanted the true Dharma. And his life was about to break open into an inconceivable reality.

The pushing didn’t work. Only when he stopped pushing, or chasing, could practice begin to do its work on him.

If we let things be as they are, practice has a chance to melt us, open us, to the point where it can welcome us in. It will show us there was never anything to push against. The whole world was wide open all the time. Only our pushing made it seem closed.

We are it and it is us. What kind of pushing could there be?

Message from Henry is from our April 22, 2019 Newsletter.
Image: Yosemite by Pexels; CC0 Public Domain, Pixabay.com

 

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest