clouds in the paper: our intimate connection to everything

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012

If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper.  Without a cloud, there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, you cannot make paper.  So the cloud is in here.  The existence of this page is dependent on the existence of a cloud.  Paper and cloud are so close.


Let us think of other things, like sunshine.  Sunshine is very important because the forest cannot grow without sunshine, and we humans cannot grow without sunshine.  So the logger needs sunshine in order to cut the tree, and the tree needs sunshine in order to be a tree.  Therefore you can see sunshine in this sheet of paper.


And if you look more deeply, with the eyes of a bodhisattva, with the eyes of those who are awake, you see not only the cloud and the sunshine in it, but that everything is here: the wheat that became the bread for the logger to eat, the logger’s father – everything is in this sheet of paper.


Like the pieces of paper, we, too, carry within us everything and everyone who taught us, held us, nourished, and loved us as we have grown:


The food we eat, the people who grew and harvested it, the plants and animals that gave their lives for our well-being; the people who manufactured the materials and built our house for us; the clothing we wear and the people who wove the fabric and sewed the garments for us.


Every moment, with every step, we live in intimate communion with all the beings and elements that work to bring us life, food, music, shelter, transportation, and clothing.  In short, we are never alone.  We are awash in the sea of intimacy and interdependence with all beings.


behind the scenes

This entire post is taken from a selection of the chapter on isolation and intimacy in Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantage of a Painful Childhood.  In the first three paragraphs, Wayne Muller quotes Thích Nhất Hạnh, an influencial Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist about our beautiful relationship.  He then elaborates on this beautiful concept in his own words.


feature image from my engagement photos provided by Todd Rafolovich

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