Dharma Glimpse by Dayamay Dunsby
Aine, the new Temple dog, joined us for walking meditation in the garden on Saturday. And as we were slowly shuffling round amongst the flowers and shrubs in the gentle rain, she found an old newspaper that she liked the look and smell of. It was already wet and as she tossed it and thrashed it around with her mouth, it disintegrated into hundreds of bits, which distributed themselves over a large section of my recently cut lawn.
I was struck by an analogy that relates to the potential for our capacity to wreak havoc in our pursuit of happiness.
Aine’s fun left an after effect that, from an outside perspective, looked pretty messy.
This really resonated with my experience of how, just my everyday activities and interactions, have the power to leave quite a trace on the intricate web of my life.
I can be quite innocently engaging in, what I feel to be, relatively innocuous pleasures or normal endeavors, whilst inadvertently and sometimes negatively impacting on the lives of others.
Of course, this is largely unavoidable and mostly accidental, but is not without its consequences, which can bring a whole range of residual and quite subtle stirrings.
It made me think of the etymology of the word Awake, which is somewhat deeper than our widely accepted version of basically just being conscious.
The analogy of moving through water is sometimes used to describe the root meaning of the word. As we walk or swim we leave a visible track behind us, or, in our ‘wake’. This track represents the immediate impact of our movement through the world in its physical and metaphysical forms. The track fans out behind us and keeps spreading as we surge forward, generating more of the same.
To be A-wake, is to be living consciously in amongst the ripples flowing out from our actions and behaviours. Taking responsibility for all of the joys and sufferings that our existence inevitably incurs.
To me, this perfectly describes a large portion of what Shakyamuni taught in his time on our planet. That we must learn to understand the implications and far reaching effects that arise out of our existence. That it’s possible to leave a less harmful wake as we strive onwards towards truth, peace and harmony.
Namo Amida Bu.
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