Maybe there is no stopping.
I'm not saying everything is busy, busy, busy. Just that, maybe, there is no stopping.
The mind of attachment arises from the stopping mind. So does the cycle of transmigration. This stopping becomes the bonds of life and death. Stopping means the mind is being detained by some matter, which may be any matter at all. If there is some thought within the mind, though you listen to the words spoken by another, you will not really be able to hear. This is because your mind has stopped with your own thoughts. When facing a single tree, if you look at a single one of its red leaves, you will not see all the others. When the eye is not set on any one leaf, and you face the tree with nothing at all in mind, any number of leaves are visible to the eye without limit.
Even the Heart Sutra
contains the words:
No suffering, no origination,
no stopping, no path, no cognition,
also no attainment with nothing to attain.
Some think meditation is meant to stop thoughts, stop the mind from ushering in thought after thought which we weave into story narrative, jumping on the boat of obsessive replay until we are far down river away from home.
Meditation is meant to help us recognize when we're being carried away by thoughts. It helps to keep us aware of the involuntary departures we make when beckoned by thoughts. This awareness and recognition are gifts of meditation. With them we can return home easier and more quickly.
5 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq, By Richard A. Oppel, Jr., Published: January 29, 2008
BAGHDAD — Five American soldiers were killed in the northern city of Mosul on Monday when militants attacked them with a roadside bomb and then fired on their patrol from a nearby mosque with machine guns, military officials said. The troops returned fire and Iraqi forces raided the mosque, but the gunmen had fled, they said.
It was the second catastrophic attack on United States forces this month, after a house rigged with explosives killed six soldiers in Diyala three weeks ago. The attack underscored the grim situation in Mosul, Iraq's northern hub, which remains a stronghold for Sunni extremist fighters.
In addition, as many as 60 people were killed and 280 wounded in a huge blast in Mosul on Wednesday as Iraqi soldiers entered a building packed with thousands of pounds of explosives. The following day the provincial police chief was assassinated after he visited the site of the blast and an angry crowd of people gathered around him.
Some are taken away suddenly. Taken away and, then, comes grief. The war is still with us. All the distractions of primaries, caucuses, and football championships can only divert those not waiting for phone call or doorbell to sound.
Tonight the President of the United States will deliver his final State of the Union address. Many are pleased it's his last one. I no longer know what to think about the man and the perplexing policies and decisions he's made. I do know my hope we do not see his like anytime soon again.
The war does not stop. The games of sport and games of chance do not stop. The run for the White House does not stop. Our lives, with each breath, however temporary and impermanent, do not stop.
Nor does prayer stop. Nor meditation
about what kind of person, what kind of world we long to manifest.
Today is the feast of Thomas Aquinas.
St Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)
He was born of a noble family in southern Italy, and was educated by the Benedictines. In the normal course of events he would have joined that order and taken up a position suitable to his rank; but he decided to become a Dominican instead. His family were so scandalised by this disreputable plan that they kidnapped him and kept him prisoner for over a year; but he was more obstinate than they were, and he had his way at last.
He studied in Paris and in Cologne under the great philosopher St Albert the Great. It was a time of great philosophical ferment. The writings of Aristotle, the greatest philosopher of the ancient world, had been newly rediscovered, and were becoming available to people in the West for the first time in a thousand years. Many feared that Aristotelianism was flatly contradictory to Christianity, and the teaching of Aristotle was banned in many universities at this time – the fact that Aristotle’s works were coming to the West from mostly Muslim sources did nothing to help matters.
Into this chaos Thomas brought simple, straightforward sense. Truth cannot contradict truth: if Aristotle (the great, infallible pagan philosopher) appears to contradict Christianity (which we know by faith to be true), then either Aristotle is wrong or the contradiction is in fact illusory. And so Thomas studied, and taught, and argued, and eventually the simple, common-sense philosophy that he worked out brought an end to the controversy. Out of his work came many writings on philosophy and theology, including the Summa Theologiae, a standard textbook for many centuries and still an irreplaceable resource today. Out of his depth of learning came, also, the dazzling poetry of the liturgy for Corpus Christi. And out of his sanctity came the day when, celebrating Mass, he had a vision that, he said, made all his writings seem like so much straw; and he wrote no more.
Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to inspire us, like St Thomas, to love God with our minds as well as our hearts; and if we come across a fact or a teaching that seems to us to contradict our faith, let us not reject it but investigate it: for the truth that it contains can never contradict the truth that is God.
(--from Universalis, http://www.universalis.com/)
Straw. Straw ideas. Straw men. Straw ambition.
I'll listen to that final address. Maybe.
It'll be, with luck, the last straw.