I stopped by Jack’s store the other day but he wasn’t there. The door was open and music was playing …he always plays the same cd: Jennifer Berezan’s “Praises for the World”. The first thing that I noticed was the music seemed too loud, then I saw a watercolor painting with dirty glass. As I walked toward the back of his shop, I noticed something else; my need to scrutinize, judge, evaluate, and try to “improve” my (or Jack’s) environment.
When I noticed this thought, I stopped and took a breath. It almost brought me to tears. …surrounded by all of this beauty, I looked for the dust. Looking into the face of someone I adore, I notice the pimple. Looking at my own smile, I notice the teeth that are not white anymore.
As I became present, standing in the middle of Jack’s shop, I saw a little shrine against one of the walls. As I walked closer, I realized that although it probably once housed a religious statue, Jack had arranged little glass chickens and a rooster (accented by a model T Ford plaque) inside. My thought was,
“If I didn’t know who owned this shop, I would like to get to know him.”
Then I realized that I didn’t know him. Not really. When I think I know what he will say next, or how he should arrange his store (or his life), how can I know him? I know my version of him; the version that, to my mind, always needs tweaking.
When I am finding fault with Jack, or myself, or anyone, it’s because I’ve focused on something that (in that moment) is unacceptable to me, and the result is always the same; I am unhappy, and I think that I need to change it. Now! …I also know enough to recognize when I’ve fallen (yet again) into this state and what I can do about it.
First, I notice. Second, I try to be very gentle with myself and say, (almost like I would speak to a little child who fell down, or to a newly rescued animal that was still very afraid of getting hit), “It’s OK (to whatever just happened!). Let’s try again.”
“The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life. The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. …Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life, and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you”. pages, 33-35, Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now