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There's Nothing I Dislike



I'm talking to someone, our conversation has come to a stopping place, we look out the window. There is a koan we've been talking about but we're not talking about it right now. I look into the garden and see the scraggly early Fall lavender bushes. They look grey. I think to myself, lavender shouldn't be grey, the garden shouldn't be grey. And then I begin to wonder, are they really grey? I look again. No they are a pale purple color, really a quite beautiful pale purple. And the stalks, they seem to be yellow, no, glowing yellow inside, with a pale green outside. And I see that there are two different kinds of lavender side by side, the other is a powdery green, delicate. And under the powdery color is a deeper green, rich, also glowing. And its flowers, too, are lavender, but a different color. It's as if one by one, the characters in a play are stepping out from behind a curtain and shyly taking their bows. I'm amazed. It's not that I have looked harder, it's just that the world has stepped forward.

It's magic the way it does this all by itself.

There are a number of koans that have this flavor, that express and understanding that really, whatever I thought the problem was, it seems to have gone away. There is nothing I dislike. Thank you very much, I have no complaints whatsoever. Every day is a good day.

Danaid, condemned for all eternity
to carry water in a sieve.
When you meditate with a koan, all parts of it become pertinent, sometimes one at a time. For instance, the word "dislike" brings up all my familiar aversions. Possibly I am actively disliking this koan and its apparent coercive optimism. Maybe I'm just really uncomfortable in this chair, maybe I dislike myself or my job or someone who has behaved badly. Or maybe I'm thinking about something unassailably awful from my own personal history, or a particularly painful image I have stuck in my mind, an un-righted wrong, or something I've lost and I mourn. Sometimes I'm surprised at the variety of what I dislike, both the intense and the trivial.

Then there is the word "nothing", and the mystery of that. It's so vast, it covers everything, this nothing. There's nothing? Really? What could that possibly mean? In this way the koan seeds my imagination with two ideas that are almost impossible to hold at the same time. So it works on me in that way. It keeps me company as I go about my day and it takes apart what I thought I knew about the world. And what is underneath that edifice I had built is startlingly kind.

It happens sometimes that I can stop disliking something, but it's more deeply simply true, that there's nothing I dislike. Somehow I can tell, from time to time, that it's not possible to dislike anything or anyone. Everything, no matter what it is, shows me how it glows from inside. That's just the way the world is.

For You: Try it, find out what happens when you walk around with the koan, "there's nothing I dislike" ? What do you see? What reveals itself to you? Don't try to make anything happen, just watch the show. 

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