Monday, June 27, 2005

Awlnawl Says Tim writes, concerning the joys of owning a magnolia in the Pacific Northwest, "My tree is just about done dropping for another season and I still stand behind my earlier post. Please don't shame me for not embracing every plant on God's green earth. I have issues with poison ivy too. I notice Mettai Cherry said nothing about removing the beautiful English Ivy. Shokai is right, the tree should not have been planted next to the front walk, that's all. I also think the Pink Dogwood is most lovely. I used to have one but the County tore it out to put in a sewer line. Oh, Priorities! Love and Peace, Tim."

I spent a long time after the evening service ended at the Zen Center talking to a friend, who recently found out his daughter had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. I don't know too much about clinical psychology, and I certainly didn't have any advice for him. I may not have a long pedigreed background studying under a variety of spiritual teachers, but that didn't matter. He didn't need any of that. What he needed was someone with a compassionate heart to just let him talk about it and to listen, and I was able to provide at least that.

One of the saddest things about paranoia is that it's such an overamplification of the ego-self. Consciousness evolved as a sort of radar system to protect creatures from predators, and if we identify ourselves too much with our radar system, of course we're going to feel constantly under attack. But that won't help his daughter at this point, nor will it help my friend.

We leaned against our cars in the warm Georgia nighttime air and talked, tree frogs and crickets singing in the background. An occasional train passed by and mechanics, working late in the next-door car repair shop, occasionally shouted things out to each other, or swore. I don't remember a thing that we said, but the words weren't important, it was just good to be there and talk.

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