Friday, May 02, 2014

Walk Like an Elephant

"In one of his insightful talks Zen master Shunryu Suzuki said that in your practice you should walk like an elephant. 'If you can walk slowly, without any idea of gain, then you are already a good Zen student.' There's a mantra for your religion: Walk like an elephant. It means to move at a comfortable pace. No rushing toward a goal. No push to make it all meaningful." Thomas Moore, pg. 43, A Religion of One's Own

All I need to say about this quote is yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I think that is why I love baseball so much. A few years back, an elder friend of mine once said, "your a baseball player, the game and its pace fits your character." At that time in my life I hadn't played the game for close to a decade and wasn't coaching. He'd only heard me talk about it and seen me play catch with a weak and wounded arm. I was around 25 at the time and about ten years earlier I had my arm surgically repaired because it would not stay in it's socket anytime I threw a ball. I've never had full strength in my arm since. And ever since then anytime I took the field the feeling of being weak and disabled has always accompanied me. Anyway, the comment confused me because he'd never seen me compete. Nonetheless, the comment has always stuck with me.

This also points to why one of my biggest bitches about paying the bills by means of being a part-time rural letter carrier is that the job is based on speed. You're suppose to try and be back to the office at a certain time no matter what. If an elderly customer wants to sit down with a cup of coffee and chat about their childhood or gossip about a neighbor; or you want to pull over and watch a bear stroll across a field with her cubs, the clock is always ticking, and I despise it.

This also takes me back to a comment that a Facebook friend of mine made about a year or so ago: "It's interesting to me why your work is so far away from what your values are." It's one of those comments, I think, that cuts right through to the bone and arises periodically until the space between the work and the values isn't so vast.

Time to get ready to help out a fellow carrier pedal mail so she can go to a funeral.

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