The rest of the title quote is "just stop cherishing your opinions." Another quote from "Trust in Mind," or The Hsin Hsin Ming. I liked the quote before I knew where it came from. "Trust in Mind" is like that. Many people know its first line:
The great way is not difficult for those who do not pick and choose.And that's the whole message of Zen, over and over, isn't it? Just accept reality. Don't keep fixating on Want this, Hate them, Don't like, Won't . . . Just greet whatever comes to your door. It's that easy.
The other day I was driving up High Street, which borders the giant football school here in Columbus, and is always kind of interesting, when this poem came to mind. The gray snow was heaped alongside the melting streets, and the off-white sky had gray clouds in it, and I thought, Ugly. I prefer sun.
Here in the temperate zone we have intemperate winters, and everyone loves sun, believe me. We all tell each other we feel better when the sun is shining. Funny, but people feel guilty about that, as if we shouldn't care whether the sun is shining. But that's not quite Zen. Everything affects us. Of course we have preferences. We just don't want to be overly attached to them.
Driving up High Street into the no-sun, I thought of the Hsin Hsin Ming. Because "beautiful" and "ugly" are evaluations, the kind we call dualism. So I thought, What if I don't call this ugly? (Though it is, my mind persisted.)
It was not easy to drop my reaction: Ugly. I've always lived in Ohio, and I'm sure I heard it in the womb, we hate winter, winter is hard, we love summer, can't wait. But I kind of got it for a second or two.
A week later: This post has been sitting in the draft box, with many other limp ideas. But today The Hsin Hsin Ming happened to me again.
I was determined to give myself two hours to work on my poetry, and was in the throes of capturing lost poems from my email box, poems written on my iPad and sent to me, and everything wanted to distract me. My to-do list. My new Buddha box. The gold fingernail polish I just discovered among my things. The nice, springlike day. And I thought, When it's time to write poetry, just write poetry.
It struck me as another example of not picking and choosing, just doing the work at hand, the scheduled work, which was the right work for the moment. So I did.