"Live to the point of tears"

Lately I have been finding my self “leaking” frequently. I am not sad or depressed. Nothing bad is happening and I have not suffered some serious loss. In my work with my students and most recently in the photography workshop in Hawaii, I realized I am being gently broken open and moved by the vulnerability and beauty around me. As I was reflecting on this, I recalled the line from Camus' Notebooks, "Live to the point of tears." This seemed to meet something in me that I hadn't quite been able to name. I wanted to find my own words to describe what I was experiencing, so I sat in silence and stillness to see what would arise. Three keywords came to mind.

First, I realize I am opened by an immense gratitude for all the natural beauty I see around me, and for the ways everyone is struggling with their vulnerability while simply trying to live their lives. When I open in this way, I then feel a great generosity welling up. I want to offer myself, in my own limited and vulnerable way, to my tender companions on the journey. But to do so evokes the last word, humility. Without humility, all that has arisen could become a personal project or endeavor, all about me. So, as I sat I realized that these three qualities that invited and encouraged my tears were, in a way, all the same. They were different aspects of the one thing — tender care.

In another book, Summer in Algiers, Camus wrote, “If there is any sin against life, it consists not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.” And this is the invitation of Zen practice, to cultivate a capacity to live this life fully, not missing its incredible grandeur despite the inevitable suffering involved. Maybe some measure of gratitude, generosity and humility are what make a gracious life possible. Certainly everyone's life is worth a few tears.

As I was reflecting on these matters I received the following poem from a student. “Because of Our Wisdom” we can say, “I am hungry to know you.” How far will you travel for love? And, will you allow gratitude, generosity and humility be open as gateways to Divine Truth? Some of these questions arose in our Inquiry session this week.

Because Of Our Wisdom

In many parts of this world water is
Scarce and precious.

People sometimes have to walk
A great distance

Then carry heavy jugs upon their

Because of our wisdom, we will travel
Far for love.

All movement is a sign of

Most speaking really says,
“I am hungry to know you.”

Every desire of your body is holy.

Dear one,
Why wait until you are dying

To discover that divine

Inquiry recording: