Sunday Story…the sound
Of one hand clapping. This is a well known Zen koan designed to aid in the process of insight or enlightenment. The fact that there is there is no correct answer to any koan is where the insight lies. What you are, what you know, or what you believe is what you get based on your experience, your ability to focus and concentrate, or your level of training.
So what is the sound of one hand clapping to you? And why am I asking this today? To the first you will need to search for the answer yourself. To the second it is because I am typing this today with one hand after surgery on my left (dominant) hand. To myself I am asking what is the use of one hand if not for clapping.
I certainly can’t use it for much else. Yet there it is where it has always been at the end of my arm. It will eventually function as it always has…opposable thumb and all. It is in this slight misfortune that a fortune of learning may lie. Therein lays the subject of this meditation: how to find the fortune in any misfortune.
When faced with adversity what is your default position? Where do you go first? Do you crawl under the covers and bury your head in the sand hoping it will go away on its own? Do you fight and rail and try to beat it with a show of will and power to scare the misfortune away? Or do you look deeply and search for the deeper meaning in the difficulty? Do delve into what you may have done to land in the middle of your current maelstrom? Is it always some outside agency? Or could it be some accident of circumstance? Or is it the universe laying the groundwork for some new insight or another drop in your bucket of enlightenment?
The loss of my dominant hand, however temporarily, is the universe slapping me upside the head to get me started on my writing. One of my great fears in life is that I will die with my stories untold inside of me. Yet, I have not been actively searching them out and putting them to paper. This is the universe’s way of showing me the folly of not listening. If you think this is bad imagine what will happen if you can’t get these stories out? The soul crushing weight of not fulfilling the work I was set to do is a lot to bear.
What aren’t you listening to? What messages are you just ignoring by putting their genesis on outside influences instead of getting your ear to the ground to find the true meaning? It is happening all the time if you truly listen. It is a practice, like meditation, to listen to the whispers of the universe.
Unfurl your inner ears to hear what is always being spoken.