The Writing on the Wall by Andrea Spark

March 21, 2012

In Buddhism, one of the Five Laws of Existence

is the Law of the Dharma

Without fail evil is vanquished and good prevails.

Not long ago, we spent a chunk of intense time in Portland helping out our dear friend and Teacher, Rev. Master Meiko who is, as most of you know, the Prior of Portland Buddhist Priory. Being in a very different environment with different expectations and responsibilities can be trying to one’s patience and forbearance. Especially one who is prone to impatience and sometimes, even, ill humor.

Being such a one as this, I found myself in the kitchen, one late afternoon, rather tired and feeling unhappy with whatever the universe was displaying to me at the time. I was looking out the window at a dying fruit tree in a soggy yard when a framed quote written beautifully in a practiced calligraphic hand asked politely for my attention. The hand written words fit perfectly in a small space between the window and the kitchen door that opened to a narrow porch, its stairs leading to the soggy yard below.

Moving my gaze from the yard, now lit by some interesting strips of sunlight, my eyes again encountered the words that made up the quote. This time my mind woke up and I read the words. They seemed scattered to me, too much of an effort to move my attention from myself to make much sense of anything “outside” of me.

Fortunately, some part of me grew tired of this game and I deliberately brought my attention back to the framed calligraphy message from the Universe. I read slowly, trying very hard to comprehend what it was telling me. It took awhile, standing there in the silent kitchen because my mind seemed to need time to get up to speed with the incoming information, but finally I could actually read it. A few beats after that the joy of recognition and acceptance rushed through me as I read:

Without fail grumpiness is vanquished and playfulness prevails.”

I felt a smile begin to form as my mood shifted from alienation to inclusion. Sure enough, The Grumps was slinking away and Amusement was knocking on the door.

I hope I never lose my sense of humor. It has rescued me from many self-generated periods of suffering.

Putting aside the theological trap of “good vs evil”, I can relate to grumpiness; the state of which can serve to warn me of my impending “I don’t want this to be happening” slump where I close myself off from what is. The word playfulness has a gentle quality to it. It brings to my mind an innocence of spirit, an ability to be without agenda. It speaks to me of the enjoyment of the present; an invitation to join the dance.

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