The Other I

October 15, 2007

Buddha on wet feathers

Filed under: Survival Strategies — theotheri @ 8:05 pm

For a long time I have thought the Buddhist teaching that moving toward greater and truer consciousness might indeed be our highest goal in life.  I might, however, have been a little askew in my pursuit.

This morning Peter, who inevitably is up before I am, woke me with the urgent announcement that there was a problem (“disaster” might have been the actual word he used) spreading all over the floor of the utility room and kitchen.  Before I was even out of bed, I knew what happened.  Last night I’d set the laundry to run over night to wash a feather-stuffed pillow.  I can now tell you from personal observation that a wet feather can get into any space big enough to accommodate even the smallest amount of water.  Not only can it get into such a space.  It will.  In fact, feathers may possess a mysterious glue activated by water which insures they stick to whatever surface they encounter.

What I thought about, as I mopped up more feathers than could possibly have been in the original pillow, was human consciousness.  Or at least my human consciousness.  It seems to operate in concentric circles:  the closer in time and space an event is to me, the more energy I invest in it.  So today, the feathers, my sister’s accident in which she totalled her car last Friday, and the tragedy unfolding in Iraq each occupied just about an equal amount of my psychic energy.

Surely something is wrong here with my priorities.  Dorothy says this is the way our consciousness works, and that the important thing is to have the right orientation to what is nearest to oneself, and that it will spread out to things that are further away.

In that spirit, I can say that, although I spent several hours sponging up water across about ten square meters and several more on my back pulling wet feathers from the nooks, crannies, outlets and hoses of the washing machine, it did not ruin my day. 

I am not so advanced as to be able to say it was quite the very best possible day I’ve ever had.   But I do know it could have been worse.  I even got the washing machine working again.

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