‘The Cart-master makes a hundred carts. If he took off both wheels and removed the axle, what would he make clear about the cart?’

~ Gateless Barrier, Case 8

Broken carts do wonderfully as broken carts. There is no need to fix them, whatsoever. Perhaps I began to learn that a bit just after high school, when I worked as a dorm parent at what was then called a ‘school for the mentally retarded’. Fortunately, that moniker has been retired. As a teenager,


I got to know and appreciate the students ~ Down’s, autism, abuse ~ for who they truly were: different in their own, often deeply loving way. No broken carts there.

I recently caught up with a dear old friend. A couple of years ago, he left his kind wife for an exciting love interest. Not surprisingly, the passion relationship blew up. Speaking to him, he is now alone. A broken cart, beautiful in its own way.

Wheels fall off carts by fate; we take them off ourselves or others take them off for us. Carts break. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that. For us in Zen ~as sad, and beautiful and painful as it can be~ the wheels on the bus go round and round.

Painting by Allison Atwill