Sunday, January 24, 2010
Simply act and let go
Yesterday, we packed up the car and the kids and headed out for a winter hike. There’s something so peaceful and removed, for me, about hiking in winter. I think it echoes my spiritual life this time of year: I tend to hibernate, draw inward and percolate.
I haven’t always been in tune with those spiritual and bodily cycles, but now that I am, I enjoy the seasons (my own and nature’s) more, knowing it’s only temporary and I should extract as much as I can now, for this time is fleeting.
First, we walked around a pioneer village with an old Quaker meeting house, and stumbled onto something called the spirit village, a place where someone recreates ancient Native American life. I felt more comforted there than peering in the windows of the meeting house (I was on the outside). Perhaps that’s because we entered the large lean-to hidden in the woods and the sacred long house.
From there, we crossed the street and found a trail that looped through “old woods” and down a rocky, craggy peninsula to a scant beach and lookout. The small coastline was ao alluring with it’s foreign landscape: dried-out overturned trees, icy waters silently swirled around weathered trunk knobs (this lake had once been land), white sand and minute, muted pebbles. It was otherworldly, much as the whole hike had been. The only (wild)life present were an occasional bird, a lone fisherman skidding his canoe through the broken ice to a more remote area and one couple, chiseling a heart in the sand.
It was a place of detached beauty.
And the lesson I took is one of detachment. No matter what I am called to do, I must simply act and let go of any result. I learned that years ago in a meditation group when we read the Bhagavad Gita. But it’s so much easier to read about than to practice.
There’s a wonderful story I often think of when I resist that detachment:
In 1954, during President Eisenhower’s tenure, the Fellowship of Reconciliation launched a campaign to pressure our government into feeding China by symbolically flooding the White House with bags of rice. We did not aid China and the mass act seemed like a failure until a former press staffer confided that when cabinet members urged bombing, the president walked to the mailroom to see how much rice had been sent. He concluded too many Americans held a concern for China, so bombing was out of the question.
Amazing, huh? Often, we may never know the result.
• What are my attachments?
• When have I been able to fully let something go?
• Has there been a time when I did see an end result that confirmed my action(s)?
• Can I use that as an example the next time when I need to release something?