‘Count the stars in the sky’
~ PZI Miscellaneous koan
This koan is much loved and frequently visited by our PZI community. It is fundamentally a story about removing any distance between subject and object, self and other, me and stars. When we walk through that gate, even for a moment, we can taste just a bit of freedom.
I have a Zen friend who works as a hospice aide. Feeling deeply tired, she recently went down into the California desert for a few days of rest. One night, she drove out of town and parked the car to look up at the night sky. When she was practicing in a monastery deep in the mountains a few years ago, after ringing the wake-up bell she would look up at the stars and feel small. She thought she would revisit that feeling this night.
Instead, looking up at the sky this time she felt large. ‘In Joshua Tree, it was like looking up created an opening in my body for this huge message from the universe to enter.’ She added, ’It rocked my world.’
And for the first time, she was able to admit to herself how hard her hospice job is and how much pressure it puts on her. And how maybe that is o.k. She finished her postcard with: ’Today more walking and gawking then home tonight and back to helping people die tomorrow. Wow. Svaha.’
Twinkle twinkle little star. How I wonder who you are…