My husband shared a poem with me referenced in a Zen book he liked very much by Charlotte Joko Beck called Nothing Special: Living Zen. It’s a poem by WH Auden:
We would rather be ruined than changed
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
Searching for the poem, I found that it is often quoted, for motivational purposes, Zen talks and literary purposes, to name a few. Perhaps I’ve heard or read it before myself. But I believe that important words cross our paths at different points in our life with particular relevance. Last week, it might not have spoken to me in the way it did today, and it may not reverberate for me next month, either. So this day, how is it significant for me? Does it speak to you, too?
I think I have made great strides in accepting change, facing death. Something happens every day where I have a choice to be bull-headed and go forward with my horns or let the ego die another death, take another blow. Of course, some times it’s easier than others to take the proverbial higher road, but that isn’t always the case.
There are changes I still want to make, changes that my ego isn’t prepared for and is applying all resistance toward. My illusions hold strong, my dread ever present. I want to have what I have, live the way I live, says one part of me. You don’t need all this, for there is a better way to live, more healthy, less debt and attachments, says the other. I don’t think I need to emphasize which part represents which. This dichotomy epitomizes many of my struggles, grand epic battles that are seemingly brought up weekly if not daily.
I daresay that when people (including myself) talk about true balance, what we might mean is a balance of the inner struggles, a balance between mind, body and soul. Complete harmony, I would imagine, would be a balance between the three yet where the mind doesn’t represent the “i” ego but the true I, the Self. Your balance, your harmony, is possible because you have let go of your illusions, experience the moments for what they are, accepting at once your limitations and infinite possibilities and potentialities. Ah, isn’t it pretty to think so?
Our lives are mere dreams when we live enshrouded in our illusions, living solely in the mirror. When we can let go of what we think we see and live here and now, we dare to live this life for what it is — the real thing.
Feel free to comment, share your thoughts and experiences, even disagree if you feel so inclined. Blessed be.