Posted inHenry's Messages

Message from Henry: Reflections

April 20, 2016

Life uses us and does not care how we feel about it.


I recently re-watched the movie E.T. with one of our sons. Early on, there’s a scene where the main (human) character, a boy called Eliot, has been scattering M&M’s to try to lure the extra-terrestrial out of hiding, though he hasn’t yet met ET. Finally ET appears, and Eliot is paralysed with fear as he approaches. ET extends his arm, and Eliot shrinks back in terror. Then ET slowly opens his hand and gently sets down a cluster of the M&M’s.

It’s a great moment. Whatever ET’s gesture may mean, the kindness in it is unmistakable. However frightening the unknown and the alien may have appeared, now we can’t fail to recognize how kind it is.

Isn’t this somehow a little like Zen?

* * *

Zen – it’s supposed to make us live better, not live less.

Better? Beguiled by wonder, awe, gratitude, compassion. Ready always to release any known fixed point, and find in its place intimacy, participation, response.

* * *

“My friend, we sin so much and deceive so much, and for what? Everything ends in death. Everything.” (From War and Peace.)

Yes. So why not die now, before we die? Everything already ended. So now we are free to live. That is Zen. That is Buddha.

* * *

Life uses us and does not care how we feel about it.

It lives through us, as us. We object and resist, or concur and are pleased – it makes no difference either way.

Only when we surrender our will, and along with it our notions of identity, can we touch our real life, and enter it, and taste at least a little more intimately what it is to be alive. As so many masters said on their awakening: “Now I am like a person who drinks water and knows for themself whether it is warm or cold.”

* * *

In time through practice we may come to a glimpse of the oneness that unites all existence. We may discover the non-existence that underlies all existence. Then in time let’s hope we can slowly start to live up to the awesome and beautiful responsibility that is laid on us, to support, cherish and unite the great creation which is our very self.


Message from Henry taken from our April 20, 2016 Newsletter
Image: Parsifal in the Woods, by Hartwig HKD, CC BY-ND 2.0, from

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