Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hot and cold

Last week I was in northern Vermont on retreat. Next week I will be in Florida on a business-related trip.
In Vermont, I slept with three fleece blankets to stay warm. I don't expect that will be a problem in Florida.
Will it be better?
I heard a talk recently by Shinzen Young, who trained as a Zen monk. He recounts going to his teacher and asking, what is the difference between hot and cold? (The answer he wanted, he says, was about non-duality, and hot and cold were merely an example.) When pressed, the teacher replied: When you are hot, you boil and you die. When you are cold, you freeze and you die.
I interpret this to mean, (a) extremes of anything are not healthy; the middle way is best; and (b) either way, you're going to die so stop fussing about the temperature.
So ... cold has its beauty -- sharpness, clarity, a drawing in. I like the weight of many blankets.
And warmth has its loveliness, its ease, its lightness.
Whatever circumstances we are in, we can find something to appreciate about it.
When we have "fundamental appreciation and respect for what we do, every act is a sacred act," Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche says. "With that inspiration, we regard every experience in our life as sacred as well."

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