By KM Huber
Every moment we are alive is a stitch in the tapestry of our life. Each stitch is an integral part of the series of scenes that make up the fabric of a lifetime.
For as long as we live, this rich and precious fabric—our past—is available to us for reflection. It is a collage of our experiences that made us who we are in the present and who we will be in the future.
Each single stitch in time was as fresh and new as the one we are experiencing right now. This one moment—our present–will ultimately become our past. And if we are mindful of this moment–immerse ourselves in all that it has to offer—we prepare ourselves for the future.
This is how our lives pass; it is the permanence in impermanence. We know moments do not stay no matter how hard we try to hold onto or to avoid them. Yet, what does stay is the experience of every moment we live, accessible to us as our past.
What you are is what you have been.
What you’ll be is what you do now.
To me, the permanence of our past—that which cannot be changed—is Buddha nature. It is the peace that is available to us in every moment. And I do mean every moment.
Buddha nature is the constant that allows the chaos of everyday life to play out. It is the permanence in impermanence. Change is the constant, not the momentary chaos of the present.
Look at the rich tapestry that is you. You are not one moment but a series of experiences, stitched as scenes.
To reflect upon a single stitch—a moment—is not to relive that experience or to anguish over it. The past cannot be changed; it is a scene already set. The value is in remembering as the person you are now, not the person you were then. The two are not the same.
No matter how painful or how joyful the moment, it cannot be improved for the moment is whole, complete, already lived. We reflect not to relive but to allow the moment to reveal its gift.
It provides distance, perhaps even perspective. No matter how similar present and past situations may be, each is their own stitch in time.
In the past we reflect; in the present, we respond. That is the balance of Buddha nature. It is not easy to remember its constancy for Buddha nature is the stuff of adventure.
Adventures are not always happy-ever-after–they are life changing—they are rows of stitches until the scene reveals itself as whole.
The larger losses—death, chronic illness, relationships—initially blind us to our own tapestry. It is no longer the life we want or had but the scene is complete. That adventure is over. Already, a new scene has stitches.
As the scene begins to take shape, its stitches are taut with pain and seemingly unendurable sorrow. It is some time before we recognize the scene as part of our lifetime fabric.
I have learned to sit with such sorrow, with that remarkable pain. I know to let the fear reveal itself for like all feelings, fear, too, passes, if I am patient. Yet, I am human, and if it is mine to react out of fear– to create that stitch in time–it is also mine to sit with the consequences of that action.
Even when we lash out in fear, creating pain for ourselves or for others, the tapestry of our past is still a rich resource. As fear is not a constant and change is, these moments of lashing out are stitches of forgiveness, ultimately.
The constancy of Buddha nature offers us the past as experience that cannot be changed. It was then, we are now. There is no reason to hold onto a single stitch in time for each connects the scenes of our lifetime, each as integral as the next.
These are the stitches of forgiveness, softly releasing the taut pain once sewn into the tapestry of our lifetime. No stitch is ever removed but in forgiveness the fabric that is our life breathes a bit easier.
In forgiveness, the past becomes one of our most powerful tools for it is where we reflect and remember. We look but do not touch for there is no need. It is our own Buddha nature, our constant in the chaos of living.
KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.
© 2015 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.