I am digging a hole in my backyard. I have been working on that hole for some time now. It’s turned out to be a bigger job than I had expected. But I persevere and persist. This project seems to have a life of its own.
I began the digging project sometime ago. When and why I began to dig, I no longer remember. While I have been digging, I have been intentionally thinking, or more precisely, I have been meditating with intention as I dig.
I have found myself free of distracting thoughts several times. Unfortunately, each time I sense that clear mind, that settled mind, I try to analyze it and covet it. That ego moment when I assign meaning and a sense of achievement to my meditation, is the moment I have to begin my practice once again.
I am meditating to find clarity, not to hand out psychic awards to myself for actually acquiring that moment of clarity. Dirt, just dirt; sweat, just sweat; thought, just thought; and then it’s gone.
The little kid next door comes by every so often and asks me what I am digging for. I ask him what should I be digging for? Number one on his list is treasure. He told me I should be digging for treasure. It would be far too weird to explain to him that in a very real sense I am digging for treasure, for something of exquisite value hidden from me.
I promised that neighbor kid if I found anything that might be of value to him, I’d let him have it. I was sincere in my offer. Whatever he thought I meant, he accepted my offer with eager enthusiasm. Now he checks on me on a regular basis to make sure I remember my deal with him – if I find anything that might be of value to him, it’s his for keeps.
As I dig, and before the meditation phase begins, I do wonder about life – the metaphoric holes I have dug, the holes I have filled, the work done for a purpose, the work done without any thought. How much of my life has been spent fulfilling a purpose? How much time has been wasted in useless activity that produced nothing towards my goal of finding and living a noble purpose?
If the truth be told, I have been digging random holes looking for buried treasure for a very long time. All the while, I have neglected the treasure already available to me. Creation beckons and in the creation that calls to me are contained all the treasures anyone could imagine.
As a person who believes in the power and promise of hope, my digging ought to get me closer to that for which I hope. I hope that suffering will cease, I hope that peace among all things living will spring forth. I hope that the promises of my faith in God will be realized. I hope you find a noble purpose for your life as I have found what I hope is a noble purpose for mine.
So here is my dilemma and the reason I am writing this post. Is the hole I am digging out back a hole that will secure the foundation of some future yet to be built? Will it be the home for footings or beams that will support new structures?
Or, am I digging a hole that will be my grave?
This is the koan of my meditation. This is the question I pose to my faith. This is the question that will either prove the power and promise of hope or result in one more big hole in which no treasures will be found, no treasures will be shared with the neighborhood kid.