From Winter to Spring
Winter is playing touch and go with spring in Boulder. Wild winter storms bury the earth under a foot of snow leaving a world of whiteness that is followed by brilliant sunny days only to be quickly punctuated by the next wonderful wintry whiteout. The statue of the Buddha that sat and witnessed my garden bring forth vegetables last summer becomes a bump in the snow then sheds his blanket and basks in the sun.
Winter has always been a time for going in, resting and deepening, diving into who, where, and what we are now. During these last remaining days of winter if we choose to touch what is deepest in us, it can sprout and bear fruit as the season starts to change.
I want to share a song by Leonard Cohen with you. I just heard it for the first time a few weeks ago and was quite touched. You might already know it. It’s called, Going Home.
Leonard, as some of you know practiced Zen for many years, and was ordained as a Zen monk in 1996 at Mount Baldy Zen Center. His growth and the depth of his practice can be felt in his music.
In his song Leonard is obliged to follow another voice that is telling him what to say even though the words are not welcome to him. He sings of a (another dimension) deeper place that is without burden of the past or concept about the future. It is what he is called to do right now, what is needed for him to wake up, to shed his ‘costume’ in order to meet what is real.
When I heard this song, I recognized my own ‘laziness’ and then felt my own pull, underneath the daily fancies of ordinary life, to more vitality and a desire to hear and to follow what is being asked of me.
Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKrbOYa2NQA
And here are the words:
I love to speak with Leonard
He's a sportsman and a shepherd
He's a lazy bastard
Living in a suit
But he does say what I tell him
Even though it isn't welcome
He just doesn't have the freedom to refuse.
He will speak these words of wisdom
Like a sage, a man of vision
Though he knows he's really nothing
But the brief elaboration of a tune
He wants to write a love song
An anthem of forgiving
A manual for living with defeat
A cry above the suffering
A sacrifice recovering
But that isn't what I need him to complete
I want him to be certain
That he doesn't have a burden
That he doesn't need a vision
That he only has permission
To do my instant bidding
Which is to say what I have told him to repeat.
Without my sorrow
To where it's better
Without my burden
Behind the curtain
Without the costume
That I wore
I am wishing you your own connection with what is most meaningful and deepest for you.