Thursday, January 21, 2010

A thousand joys and sorrows

Yunmen said, "Every day is a fine day." My old Zen teacher used to say that it was incorrect to ever evaluate a day as good or bad -- too many moments, all perfect in themselves. And yet we judge and complain and celebrate and enjoy. Beyond all judging is the lived moment, now perceived as happiness, now as grief. As Rumi says, "A thousand joys and sorrows."

Yesterday I awaken to disappointing election news, and later, hear that Haiti has had another major aftershock. And as the work day ends, a co-worker tells me that one of her former students has killed herself. Saying good-bye to my boss, I say "what a day!" He replies, "yes! So wonderful!" "What?" I say, and repeat my string of bad news. "Oh" he says. "I was thinking of the successful program we ran today (...a lecture that attracted 40 people, with a terrific visiting researcher who engaged us all.) The energy of the office was so high today." And then he pauses, and sees my surprised face. "Ah," he says. And we both smile at each other. And he adds, "a thousand joys and sorrows."