The wind is still, but blossoms fall,
Birds sing in the quiet of the mountain.
This is Kannon’s wondrous wisdom:
- Ryokan (1758-1831)
Things happen. No matter what, things happen. We miss most of what's going on around us because these days we live in such a vacuum despite having the best communication network in history. We can reach each other at virtually any time should we choose to do so. We have cell phones, text messaging, the internet, UPS... Despite this extensive communications network, there are things that are going on all around us that we either don't know about, or we just don't notice. We're disconnected from each other, despite this glorious communications network. We're disconnected via the internet, the phone, the text messaging. We don't even know what's going on a thousand miles away, let alone what's going on in the next town, or our own towns. We don't know what's going on with our friends or our families. Not the whole story. People hide behind each other, or the façade they put up in front of themselves to hide from the rest of the world. There is so much mistrust and fear of everyone and who we really are. I've seen it up close and personal. I've seen what lies on the other side of the mask, and I'm not just talking about what's behind the mask. I've seen what's on the underside of the mask; what it's made of. I've seen the ugliness of the people behind their masks and the ugliness of the mask itself. Sometimes, I'm not sure which is worse.
But this is all symptomatic of the distance between people. We don't trust each other because we can't see what's going on. All too often, we don't see each other because we're not looking. That's the problem a former friend and I both had when we looked at each other. We weren't really seeing who the other person was. We all do this, no matter how hard we try not to. We do it to someone we think we know because we didn't take the time to properly listen to and understand them. We saw what we wanted to see when we thought we were seeing behind the masks we all wear. So what's the solution?
You've got to learn to pay attention. You've got to think about the things that you see, that you hear, that you feel. Trust your intuition, but don't let other things cloud your judgment; when you listen to that intuition. Take note of the things that you see and hear. Write them down in a little pocket notebook if you have to. Be aware of your surroundings and of what and who people are, despite what they may claim to be or to not be. Understand why things are, or at least try to. If you can't, then just accept them and move on. "The wind is still, but blossoms fall." We all know why they fall, and it's not because the wind is still or it's blowing. We see the blossoms falling, but do we even stop to think about the wind? Do we listen to the birds singing when we gaze up at the majesty of the mountain? We distract ourselves with our focused observations. We focused in on technology over humanity. If you can't see how that's a problem, pick up a newspaper or turn on the evening news broadcast. You'll see myriad ways in which we've done ourselves harm simply because we focused on one thing over another. So many misunderstandings and so few attempts to correct for those misunderstandings and mistakes in judgment.
But, this passage may not speak to you that way. Just because I've given you one interpretation that has personal significance tonight does not mean that's the main, or even the only, interpretation. This passage may say something to me tomorrow, or six months from now, or six years from now. That's the beauty in this poetry. It still speaks to me after the passage of time and I learn something new from it each time I read it again. Do you dare to believe what your heart and soul tell you of this?