Chaos is inherent in all compounded things.
Strive on with diligence.
I’ve been driving on the motorway this past week, with more driving to come during the next weeks. For the most part progress has been orderly. We speed up, we all slow down. A lorry pulls out from the slow lane to pass another lorry and faster vehicles slip into the fast lane. And then slip back again. HGV drivers appreciate a flash of headlights to let them know their vehicle has cleared the one they’ve just overtaken and it’s safe to pull back to the slow lane again. Polite, considerate, cooperative. Progress is thus like a dance. No toes stepped on. No feathers ruffled. No damage done. All move together in harmony to progress down the tarmac. At speed. But there is an edge to it. That’s the background tension and ever vigilant awareness that anything could happen at any time.
Driving on, mile after mile, hour after hour. A lane is closed funneling traffic into two lanes. Everything slows and converges, getting closer. Rather too close for comfort. What’s this! Smoke! A fire! There’s a lorry. It’s pulled over on the hard shoulder. There’s smoke billowing out from under a wheel. The smoke is drifting into the carriageway obscuring our way! Adrenaline starts to flow. It’s a moment to keep one’s head. A moment for everybody to keep their heads. Please?
Motorway driving just brings home the need to be vigilant, but not pumped with adrenaline hopefully! That would be no way to live a life. Yes, the potential for chaos to break out, at any time in any place, is ever present. The consequences of a moment of inattention might not be as dramatic as when on the motorway. There are consequences none the less. Keeping one’s head, sitting still within the midst of conditions if you like, when the way forward is obscured, confused, chaotic is…wise practice. To say the least. And one gets better at it with practice.
Now I am wondering what the Buddha actually meant by strive on with diligence. I doubt if he meant plough on regardless! Perhaps more like move with grace and ease. Know kindness and consideration for oneself and others. Keeping going, stick with it. And if and when toes are crushed, know honestly, it wasn’t intentional. All of that must surely be included in what we call diligence. Surely. And now reflecting on this post I see it has something to do with commitment which Reverend Alicia and I have been thinking about.
Thanks to Jim for bringing me this quote at the eleventh hour, it inspired me. I hope Rev. Alicia hadn’t given up on my writing something for this week’s post.