Friday, December 26, 2008

Comfortable with Uncertainty

As a kindergarten teacher I find it really helps if I can find a way to be comfortable with uncertainty.

When I come to school comfortable with uncertainty I seek simply respond appropriately to the energies and interests that the students bring to class.

Sure, I want everyone at school to be safe, happy, healthy, and kind, but I don't expect things to work out that way.

I always have work to do.

Riding the moment, finding the flow, improvising ways to help happiness, safety, and kindness arise makes me feel like a jazz musician: I'm improvising.

To start the flow, before breakfast I'll read a passage from Pema Chodron's Comfortable with Uncertainty. It's an exquisite collection of 108 short teachings. Before I've had breakfast I've been reminded that in spite of all my plans and preparations, the unexpected awaits.

This passage quoted from the book will give you a feeling for her writing:


The Love That Will Not Die

Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain. We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way to the top. At the peak we have transcended all pain. The only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all others behind. Their suffering continues, unrelieved by our personal escape.

On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed ro aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Bodhichitta is our heart—our wounded, softened heart. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not dies. this love is bodhichitta. It is gentle and warm; it is clear and sharp; it is open and spacious. The awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings.

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