I choose you,
one from a thousand,
two from ten-thousand,
and you will stand to your own feet
having become single
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
I notice what is missing—
when a number is given,
understand it in terms of human beings.
One in ten-thousand...
I miss how we all stand up out of
clay and rock,
wave and sky,
scales and forked tongues
ice and stars
dust and waterfalls.
But then, maybe,
those entities don’t need to recognize themselves
as already single and whole,
endlessly and effortlessly
Journey through Logos:
In Buddhism and Hinduism, sometimes our lucky human birth is described like this: imagine a single turtle, swimming around in a world with no land masses. Now imagine as well a single, floating life preserver bobbing on those endless waves. The human birth and life is as rare as the times that one turtle surfaces, sticks his head through the circle when he rises for a breath. That is the very definition of why our lives are precious, why spiritual practice and waking up is like running toward water when your very hair is on fire.
The trick, it seems to me, is to not forget that really, everything around us is just as unique, life-filled and chosen. When we look up into the sky, and really get a sense of how small our little world is, how small our little country, how incredibly small our little selves are, we better understand what Yeshua means when he asks us to stand. Because we are the conscious ones, the ones created by God to use all our senses so that God might know her/his/its very nature. Not because we can name, not because we can create theologies or ideas or dogmas or religions, but because we can use our senses with consciousness and a startling awareness of choice in our reactions to sense impressions and thoughts.
There is also a deep sense of the chosen beloved here, and I must remind myself not to miss that. Otherwise, my paragraphs above begin to sound a little dry and abstract. We can only stand in all of this already-standing miracle of life and planet and space if we do so with the touchstone of compassion that sees how much we are held by this web. Standing does not imply individual warrior strength alone (although that is part of it); it also requires our full awareness of our relationship with all we can sense and with what we cannot. If we take away the love, the heart-response, the cherishing and cherished, we will only be poverty stricken within.
Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
“Ask yourself how many of the billions of the inhabitants of the planet have any idea of how rare it is to have been born as a human being. How many of those who understand the rarity of human birth ever think of even using that chance to practice the Dharma? How many of those who think of practice actually do practice? How many of those who start really continue? How many of those who practice continue and attain ultimate realization? Indeed those who attain ultimate realization compared to those who do not are as few as the stars you can see at daybreak. As long as you fail to recognize the true value of human existence, you will just fritter your life away in futile activity and distraction. When life comes all too soon to its inevitable end, you will not have achieved anything worthwhile at all. But once you really see the unique opportunity that human life can bring, you will definitely direct all your energy into reaping its true worth.”
--Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
We are not having this precious human birth in the world just to fill the stomach, produce offspring, and die; we should be ready to live and leave with the fulfillment of a deeply realized life.
--Swami Iraianban in
Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bharata, stand and fight for the living Dharma.
Chapter 4, verse 42
I remember begin told to never ask “why” in graduate school as a method of analysis or the basis to forming a hypothesis. But when I look at my life, “why” is the great question, the base question, the ground question. Consider today how the question “why?” informs your spirituality.
To Find means to fully recognize your unique sovereignty and utter interdependency with all of life.
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