I always knew
I would travel this road.
Yesterday I did not know
It would be today.
The photo above shows a section of Henry Hudson Drive, called River Road by cyclists, running along the Hudson River’s New Jersey side, showing Manhattan and, yes, the World Trade Center in the distance. The poem, Japanese from maybe the 18th century, I first saw on a placard inside a subway car. Back then I thought it had to do with dying. Later I thought it had to do with love. Now I think it has to do with awareness. Tomorrow…
At a retreat held further up the Hudson last month at the Garrison Institute, Zen Priest Robert Chodo Campbell offered a parable in which life was depicted as a rocky and hazardous road filled with a vast variety of traps and treacheries. Meditation was depicted as a luxurious shimmering palace in which to take blissful refuge from the road. Sitting in silent meditation after he’d finished, the realization–”realization” sounds so much more humble than “lightning bolt of profound insight” or “earth-shattering moment of spectacular enlightenment.” Whatever…–the realization came to me that I love The Road.
I love The Road!
The very challenges of traveling The Road are the ultimate treasures of my life. The traffic, the potholes, the broken glass and occasional tree limbs, the pedestrians blinded by their smartphones, they are there for me. Why I am here, why I have made meditation and studying things spiritual central to my living now I finally understand: simply to learn better to spot these treasures, attain them and share them. And River Road, constantly hilly and yet the road to which I still return by bicycle although it seems to have developed some walking sections of late, is not an analogy for what I’m writing about. It is one living manifestation of my understanding. And there are other roads of richness: my marriage, work, friendships and, of course, my practice.
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Perhaps you have a favorite road or path, a something-or-other along which you’ve traveled or wish some day to travel. Perhaps at some point you’ve written about your road or, maybe, feel ready to do so now. I surely hope so. Please hit “Comments” below and share your road with the rest of us.