I heard a beautiful story the other day about the Buddha and one of his most famous teachings. One day near the end of his life the Buddha sat down, surrounded by his students as usual. On this day, however, he did not say a word. He merely sat there in silence and looked at a rose in his hand. After some time, he smiled, got up and walked away without ever uttering a word. The students did not understand the meaning of the lesson. “All we saw was a rose,” they exclaimed. Then one student who did understand told them: “I, too, only saw the rose at first, but then I looked again, and this time I saw the rain, and the sun, and the soil, and the seed. They were all there in that rose and all of them came together for a moment in time so that the rose could open.” There are many variations of this story, and I am paraphrasing terribly here, but the lesson remains the same: form and formless are one and the same, and none of it lasts forever. Therefore, we need to learn to appreciate all that is before us when it’s here because we never know when it will be gone.
A little heavy for a blog post on writing an authentic life? Not really. An authentic life cannot be created from “stuff.” It doesn’t become authentic when we get the perfect house, or have enough money, or find the perfect mate. An authentic life is one that appreciates all that is. An authentic life is real. It is not copied from someone else. It is genuine and it is ours, and many, many things must come together, both form and formless, to bring it into existence. Writing helps us explore “what is” and “what isn’t.” What belongs in our lives and what doesn’t? Whether we are writing in our journal, writing a memoir, or even taking our experiences and beliefs and testing them out in a novel, writing helps us to see our lives in crystal clarity, and seeing all that needs to come together to make it bloom.
Have a blessed and “authentic” holiday. There will be one last writing assignment on the home page before we take a little Christmas vacation. A new blog post and assignment will appear in the New Year. Until then, I wish you peace, love, happiness and a life that is perfectly, beautifully, authentically yours.