Letting Go or Burying?

You know what’s potentially ‘wrong’ with Zen Buddhism? It’s the same thing that’s absolutely right with it;

“letting go.”

We must let go of mental formations that obsess us, or distract us when our full attention is needed elsewhere, but sometimes, letting go of something forever, on purpose or by design, can be harmful; that’s burying it.

You don’t need to be well versed in human psychology to realize the lesson in this story…

A man does some remodeling in his living room. He strips the walls of thirty years of paint, spackles them, sands them, and paints them the color his beloved wife had her heart set on. He does this to the ceiling, too, an infinately more difficult job. Then, he draws and makes a stencil of her favorite flower, makes lines on the wall with an H pencil; parallel from floor to ceiling, the right distance apart. This alone takes two days. Then he prepairs the paint, the trays, the rollers, and fine brushes for touch-up work, and for a week, he lays down a pattern of the floral designs, floor to ceiling, row after row.

When he is finally finished, one Sunday, he notices that miraculously, he is in time to retrieve the wife and kids from grandmother’s house in time for ice cream at the mall, after which he will present his labors of love and fatherhood in the house. He makes haste in cleaning up. He does his best, working rapidly to pick up the dust, nails, shims, and other debris that has managed to hide out and litter the room since he began three weeks ago, despite his daily efforts to return the room to some semblance of normalcy after his work each day.

He’s running short of time, so after a perfuntory sweep and bending over here and there to pick up, he throws the rug down thinking it will not only make the room look complete, it will be protection for his childrens’ feet against any material left behind until he can properly vacuum and finish the  job. He lines the rug up with the walls, and then takes a quick look at his handy work, smiles, and breathes a sigh of relief before running out to the car without even washing up. “Let it go”, he hears his wife say in his memory, “you worry to much. It’s good enough for now.”

. . .

After taking the kids to the mall for their favorite deserts, discussing their time at grandmother’s house, and talking about how they have to be careful not to write on the new walls in the living room with crayons or pencils, the family jumps in the car and drives home to see Daddy’s work. The man, it seems as if his car is moving in slow motion. He cannot wait to show his wife.

When the family sees the living room, everyone is excited. Father feels great because his wife is gushing at the professional wirk he’s done, remarking flatteringly about his painting of the flowers. The children say ‘Wow, Daddy made a new house!’, and all just eventually fall into easy chairs and the sofa for some TV time. The man is too tired to lifting the rug to finish cleaning. After a few hours, they all go up to bed.

. . .

A few days later, the man comes into the living room after work and is shocked to see his wife on the couch with her left leg elevated, a bandage round her foot with a  stain of lood on her big toe.

“Honey what…” He never finishes his sentence. Suddenly he finds himself bounding across the room to catch his six-year old son who is falling toward the corner of the reading table, tripping of the rug!

To Be Continued…

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