Larry Smith

What we came for, and what arrives.
When you reach a deep tranquil state in meditation and recognize it, it’s already gone….white jet trail in a clear blue sky.
Retirement: How useful are you today? How wise? How much in the way? What’s next? Learn to let go to go on.
They say a Buddha tree grows in each of us. We sit on its root touching the earth, breathing life.
My little granddaughter spins like a whirling Dervish as I strum the guitar. “Wait…slower…You’ll fall down. Spin the other way.” But on she goes turning and turning in the light.
When you’re strumming the guitar and feeling brilliant, you’re just strumming the guitar.
“Principle of cause and effect: father to the artichoke.” –Benjamin PeretPrinciple of non-duality: mother to the universe.
After chanting, chanting, chanting…chanting, chanting, chanting…comes a deep silence that echoes the Oneness. We all drink of it.
The wind echoes down the building’s hallway as we sit in meditation. Outside the windows, the gulls cry their plaintive song. And it all enters and extends the moment as we allow it to find us, twelve of us sitting on dark cushions and breathing a stillness. Not silence, mind you, but stillness.
At the morning coffeehouse we sit and eat our bagels and muffins, our hands wrapped around our cups as we lift them gently to our lips—warm and bitter-sweet and strong—great awakenerhood.

Last hour of a long drive back home, my wife asleep at my side, night sky beyond the headlights, and I hear old Harry Chapin sing, “It’s got to be the going, not the getting there that’s good.” I smile and nod to the night, while pressing the gas pedal further to the floor.
My grandson and I walk out the pier all the way to the lighthouse, navigating the huge boulders carrying our fishing poles and gear. I bring a bucket of shiners that we’ll put back into the lake two by two, hoping against wind to draw out a perch or bass, perhaps a great walleye to celebrate the day together in the sun and wind. The steady hoot of the lighthouse, the waves upon the rocks, the old guy who shows him how to bring his line in without a snag. We calculate and cast out, letting go the line, then learn to sit and wait, again and again.
What we came for, and what arrives.

Larry Smith is a poet, fiction writer, and editor of Bottom Dog Press. Together with Ray McNiece he co-edited America Zen: A Gathering of Buddhist Poets. With Mei Hui Huang he translated The Kanshi Poems of Taigu Ryokan (both books from Bottom Dog Press). He is a founding member of Converging Paths Meditation Center in Ohio.