Zen Musings – Being A Bridge
These days I see a world full of extremes. This I observe on a small scale as well as on a large scale. While our individual differences not only make us unique, but enrich our world, I find the division of our world into good and evil, light and dark, up and down, left and right, this and that limiting and concerning. Especially since the “and” seems to be falling away more and more, replaced instead by an “or”. While the “and” here serves as a bridge to connect opposites and grants both sides a right to exist, the “or” at this point forms an ever-deepening rift, a division, according to the motto: If you are not good, you are evil; if you are not light, you are dark, if you are not this, you are that….
Yet we always have both in us. And good and evil… these are basically illusions, because what seems good and desirable to one person may be perceived as harmful and evil by another. The point here, as with everything, is to look for common ground, to find a common denominator. And this usually lies in the middle.
This is exactly what Zen is about, among other things. It is about finding and strengthening the centre. It helps to realise that this centre is not static and that we are allowed to adjust our stance, because everything is constantly in motion. Therefore, it is good if we also remain in motion, remain flexible.
One of my teachers described it in such a way that the idea of Yin and Yang is not about adopting a stance of one or the other, but recognising the “and” as the central point of balance.
For me, this results in an interesting dynamic, because through the act of centring we bring opposites together. This is not done here by pulling or pushing one in the other direction, but simply by exercising acceptance. We accept that both exist, thereby release judgements and position ourselves in the centre. By filling this centre, we virtually become the bridge ourselves.
I wonder if it would not work in a very similar way on the big world stages and if the world would become a more peaceful place if we found the courage to recapture that centre.
This, of course, strikes as challenging given the injustices and atrocities seen in the world, and it is not a matter of excusing violent or assaultive behaviour of any kind.
But I have never observed that it would have been a solution to adopt such behaviour oneself and thus create more of what one actually wants to fight against. – And this is probably the crux of the matter, because fighting against something already denies the other side the right to acceptance. It is therefore necessary to practise this acceptance – and the best place to start is with oneself, because one will probably not get it from the other side – otherwise one would possibly not be at this point.
If we wait for someone else to start change or to give us what we are lacking, we possibly wait forever and nothing ever changes. Thus, we are invited here to be our own bridge.
Personally, I have reached my limits here in recent years. So, I certainly do not have all the answers. But I have also noticed that things only moved forward again when I found out how to find this middle ground, this bridging, in certain situations, no matter how desperate they were. That was not always easy for me and I also battled. And what did it actually achieve? That at least my suffering increased.
How can this be implemented on the big world stage? – To be quite honest, I do not know. But I am not a politician and do not need to know the answers. I can only contribute in my immediate environment to building bridges again – by being my own bridge.
Maybe that is exactly the solution – one bridge at a time…
How are you doing these days? Do you still manage to find and maintain your own centre? How do you achieve this - respectively, how could you achieve it? Are you ready to shine a bright light of awareness on the path of beingness, today? Much Love, Steffi