Saturday, February 28, 2009

the tiger's nest

The other day I discovered the list of tags for this blog.  There were only 3 that I’ve used more than once.  They were fear, love, and surrender.   I found this appropriate as the most significant moments of my life have involved these three actions…births, deaths, illness, healing, mystical experiences.  I would have to say I would have never truly experienced love without experiencing some fear.  And that in order to overcome those fears a degree of surrender occurred. 

John told me a story that illustrates this so beautifully.  He saw a beautiful picture of a Buddhist temple while waiting in a doctor’s office with his dad.  In the picture the traditional pagoda style monastery appears to jut out from rocky cliff and overlook a deep forested canyon.  He decided to ask the doctor if he had taken the picture when he went in with his dad.  The doctor told him that his wife had taken the picture.  They were in Bhutan on a doctors without borders mission.  The monastery is not open to the public, but because of their work they were given a special pass that enabled them to tour the Tiger’s Nest monastery.  The only way to get to the monastery was to take a small footpath that hugged the side of the mountain.  The path was so narrow and the cliff so high that they couldn’t bring themselves to go all the way and turned back about the halfway point.  The beauty, the peace, the wholeness, the truth was so alluring, but their fears were too great to overcome. 

I am finding myself once again on a narrow path like this.  It is so easy to retreat to the familiar, the accepted, the expected.  Surrendering to experience something different takes mindfulness, patience, determination, passion.  Sometimes I feel like my foot could slip at any minute.  And the more steps I take, the longer and more difficult the path becomes.   As we are entering the time of Lent, I can’t help but relate this to the passion of Christ.  Step after step walking toward what is truth, what is Love, rebuking fears and the world to do what we are called to do.

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”-Matthew 7:13-14

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