Random Thoughts

A circle drawn in the air

... what can this mean?

by Ed Boyd

Some of our faithful Melrose Mirror readers may remember a brief piece of mine, “The Wisdom of Solitude”. This was the title of a small book by Jane Dobisz published by Harper Collins, c.2004. The author was after an experience with Zen, an inward adventure with herself. Jane was writing about the one hundred day journey in a small cabin in a New England winter where she hoped to find out who she was. The one hundred days were frighteningly lonely but powerfully exhilarating. In the end Jane said, “How could I have missed this pleasure for so many years.” Do you remember this?

My own spiritual outlook was formed at birth by my parents who sent me to parochial school. To this day I pray daily, Mane Nobiscum, stay with us, Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer to a deity is commonplace, Moslem, Hebrew, a place to fasten faith on. Most want to have someplace to carry our hurts, wants and to give thanks. I have difficulty in imagining this to be otherwise.

Zen is the Japanese equivalent of Sanskrit word dhyana meaning “meditation”. Self Power (jiriki in Japanese) means seeking to attain enlightenment by the power of one’s own practice. This is what Jane Dobisz hoped to achieve by meditating in the one hundred days of solitude.

When a Zen Master lay dying, he was asked if he might instruct on what he had learned about Zen. The Master paused for a bit and then reached up his hand and with his index finger he drew a circle.

What has the Master told us? Without words he simply drew a circle. What meaning might be derived from a circle drawn in the air? It seems to mean that life is a complete circle having no beginning or end. We are here on this earth without an outside influence on us. We are to look into ourselves for meaning which brings us full circle with our self. We begin with our self and end with our self.

I must pause at this thought. Maybe?

March 4, 2011

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