Saturday, March 04, 2006

What Big Teeth You Have

Getting close up and personal with a bear can be salutary. They look like an animated ‘teddy bear’ from ones childhood, a much bigger version though. It is all too easy to loose sight of the fact that they are creatures of the wild, when they look so cute and cuddly. One thing is clear when near one; they have big claws, big teeth and powerful rippling muscles under their soft coats.

After my close encounter I found myself getting really interested in bears; the danger they are drawn into by following their noses to human habitation for fast food, their wilderness home eroding and migration routes cut off. Yes, I really got into that. Somebody suggested I submit the photo, on yesterday’s blog, to the local newspaper, “hay, look what came to our place yesterday”! So I did, and it was published.

I wrote a piece to submit with the photograph, the words coming easily as I was inspired by the subject. Then, as we do within the Sangha, I ran the writing past a senior monk and I was brought up short. In a kindly way I was reminded that while the cause was real and good, my involvement was not. I deleted what I’d written and sat still. The ‘not good’ was connected to my vocation as a priest within my particular Order. We do not include overt social action in our practice, concentrating primarily on living a Preceptual life with Compassion and the offering of the merit of this to all beings.

The very many lessons I learnt arising out of this incident was that I enjoyed writing about matters that inspire me. And, I needed to look at the intent behind writing and run that past the Three Pure Precepts. Regularly!

Here is the beginning of a well-known prayer; it speaks of action. Each of us walk a unique path, the task is to recognize and respond to the path we find ourselves on…and not try and walk somebody else’s.

The Serenity Prayer

Please grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

This book helped transform my fear of big bears, and also become better educated about them too.