Picture this: 4 frigid souls dressed in hats, scarves and our “up-north” parkas (the appropriate attire for Sarasota residents on a blustery 61 degree day at the beach) meditating with our beloved Buddhist nun. We were practicing quieting our minds and connecting to our source.
Then, a strong wind came and blew our little donation box full of money down the beach. We all immediately looked up (why that distracted us and not other things, I do not know) and we watched as all of these bills start flying down the beach. We all got up and the three of us practitioners started running down the beach chasing down the money. Our nun, much more serenely, followed with the empty box.
During our mediation I had managed to hold back all of the distracting thoughts in my head, but in that moment I was flooded of thoughts, all coming at once.
“Am I completely crazy? Am I really running down the beach chasing money!”
“I probably look like a total idiot! What is Gendemo (our nun) thinking right now?”
“Now this is an ironic joke, right? Chasing Money?!?! Is this an utterly obvious parable?”
“Well, maybe someone down the way really needs this more than our temple does. Was it divinely planned?”
“At least I am getting some exercise!”
“Should I stop? Should I keep running? This feels like a dream where I can never catch the elusive treasure in front of me.”
“If it were my money, I would let it go, but this is for my temple. Keep running.”
“I don’t know if this is the most ‘buddha-ish’ thing I can be doing….but I don’t know what else to do.”
And I kept running.
As the bills hit the water and finally stopped,we gathered up quite a few, at least enough to cover the permit fee for doing meditation on the beach. (A fee for which I have even more thoughts and opinions, but will save for another day.)
We walked back to our spot laughing and sat back down for another meditation. Our nun seemed not to be phased by the whole thing, just smiling. (Buddhists really are the happiest people, you know.) Yet, I have a tendency to want to analyze everything, dig for the meaning, for the lesson. Maybe there is one, maybe there isn’t.
It reminded me however of all of the things we do on a daily basis, while that little voice in our head makes judgements about how we are doing, if we are doing it right, if we look like complete and utter fools, or wondering why we are doing it at all. Today was just a more comic adventure than most.
As I balanced it against some of my life’s intentions…..it was actually a pretty worthwhile experience!
- Did I risk looking like a fool for a profound commitment? Check
- Did I laugh and play and engage fully with life’s offerings? Check
- Did I respect and honor all living beings by doing now harm? Check
So what was the lesson in it for me? I still don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t even matter. I know that I experienced being fully alive, created a fantastic memory and a bond with new friends.
Maybe chasing money doesn’t create happiness, but for me today, it did.