Rather than play, I practice. There’s so much to learn and nothing to lose. Obviously, I lack the competitive edge, always have. For me, “the only way to win is to refuse to play” (Seth Godin).
It is only in the last 10 years that I developed a lifelong practice, and that did not happen until every aspect of my life changed. I was fiscally and physically bankrupt, on the edge of homelessness, living with a tri-color, blind beagle named Gumby who knew nothing but confidence, a true Zen master.
Every morning, she led me into the world via the scent of the day. We walked for miles, she trusting the trail and I trusting her, no matter the obstacle, and there were many, but I found the present, facing life as it comes. Where else lies peace except in experience.
I always thought peace was a place, a home to gain and once attained, bliss would reign. I wanted to win the mountain, float on its majesty and then well…. Magical thinking is its own beauty but it is not the reason for being. Life is.
Better to be one who beagles though blind, no temptation to look behind with only time to look round the next bend. That’s the practice, adapt to the path or it ends. There are always options, which is not to say they are likeable.
Those meandering walks are long gone as is Gumby but in meditation, I meet the day and all it offers. Oh, the obstacles I meet but no matter where I wander, I aim for even–equanimity–the peace available in every moment.
Maybe that is what home is, peace, a bit lean but never empty, contentment in chaos, never dull but lasting, a practice without playbook or expectation.
It is not necessary to walk miles with a Zen master to gain the present and thus the world, but if the opportunity presents itself, go for it. For everyone there is a Gumby, in one form or another. Winning is reaching an end; practicing is knowing the end is always round the bend.
The one who plants the trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has started to understand the meaning of life (Unknown).