May 9, 2009
the road is covered with diamonds
The path of life seems to be mostly difficulties, things that give trouble. Yet the longer we practice, the more we begin to understand that those sharp rocks on the road are in fact like precious jewels; they help us to prepare the proper conditions for our lives. […] There are sharp rocks everywhere. What changes from years of practice is coming to know something you didn’t know before: that there are no sharp rocks – the road is covered with diamonds.
[…] the longer we practice, the very difficulties that life presents more and more can be seen as jewels. Increasingly, problems do not rule out practice, but support it. Instead of finding that practice is too difficult, that we have too many problems, we see that the problems themselves are the jewels, and we devote ourselves to being with them in a way we never dreamt of before. In my interviews with students, I constantly hear about such shifts: “Three years ago, I couldn’t possibly have handled this situation, but now..” That’s the turning over, preparing the ground. That’s what is necessary for the body and mind truly to transform. It’s not that problems disappear or that life “improves”, but that life slowly transforms – and the sharp rocks that we hated become welcome jewels. We may not delight to see them when they appear, but we appreciate the opportunity that they give, and so we embrace them rather than running away from them. This is the end of complaints about our life. Even that difficult person, the one who criticizes you, the one who doesn’t respect your opinion, or whatever – everybody has somebody or something, some sharp rock. Such a rock is precious; it is an opportunity, a jewel to embrace.
Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special – Living Zen (HarperCollins, 1993)
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