John says birds can ‘open the sky’ for us when we watch them fly – everything just appears and then is gone without a trace. If we trust whatever appears, that’s a taste of the bird path. Might it be true that no matter what, you’re not having the wrong moment? That you don’t have to disapprove. When it’s difficult, it’s good to know that it’s for us. It’s ours. Life is blessing us all the time. Our thinking/feeling ‘This isn’t it,’ is what we call loneliness. John talks about how our practice asks us, ‘What’s it like to be me? What’s it like to be a tree? A bird? What if I’m a fire? A river?’ My mind and the universe – not much difference.
A student asked Yunmen: ‘I don’t ask you about before the full moon, what about after the full moon teacher?’ Yunmen replied ‘Every day is a good day’. A side story to this koan is that Yunmen was ill when the student came to visit and he was asking him about his health. There is a light which shines through everything: the day, the moment, an illness, even our problems.
“How to deal with difficult times is fundamental for a spiritual practice, and really, for any human life. There’s birth and death, to start with, and then there is all the conflict and uncertainty that happens in between.” January 2017.