We are still waiting for our second child to be born. (The due date was December 9th 2009.)
In the meantime, I’ve been trying to find things to distract me – like doing jigsaw puzzles.
And it has since struck me that the path to spiritual well-being can be likened to doing a jigsaw puzzle. Each life-practice you add is like a piece of the puzzle. There are many pieces (practices):
Social and Ecological Ethics
Emotional Mindfulness Practice
Tai Chi Chuan
Each one of us has his or her own puzzle to work on and it can take a lifetime to finish. It can be enormously satisfying when you find that final piece needed to complete the puzzle.
And that is the problem: Just because it happens to be the final piece, it is often mistaken to be the most essential piece.
And most likely my last piece of the puzzle will not be the same as your last piece of the puzzle. I may have been missing a little spinal alignment and you may have been missing a little aerobic exercise. Now, having found my missing piece, I’m trying to convince you of the importance of the Alexander Technique and you’re trying to convince me to start running 4 to 5 times a week.
Maybe your last piece is Tai Chi and one of your friends is an Osho devotee begging you to try something called dynamic meditation technique.
Now here is another problem, most likely I haven’t actually completed the whole puzzle. Most likely, I’ve only completed a small section of the puzzle. (While mistakenly believing that I’ve completed the whole puzzle.) Adding the last piece of just a small section of the puzzle can be very rewarding. I might even mistake the final piece of a small section for the great panacea that the world so desperately needs.
And here is yet another problem: It seems to be the case that each one of us actually has a different puzzle to complete.
So not only do I mistakenly believe that the piece that completes the puzzle or a small section of the puzzle is the most essential piece, not only do I mistakenly assume that I have completed the whole puzzle when I have only completed a small section, but I also incorrectly assume that my puzzle is the same as everyone else’s puzzle.
What a mess!
This post is a call for a little patience with each other. People, you know I’ve only listed 12 pieces above! There are hundreds of practices (pieces). Now maybe my puzzle only has 20 pieces. Your puzzle may contain a greater or fewer number of pieces, and/or it may contain a different basic break down of pieces (practices). See what I am getting at? Your last piece may have actually been my first piece and vice versa; a piece that you discovered early on may still be eluding me. You may be wondering why your friend is dwelling on some special technique he has been working on for the last 10 years since you effortlessly adopted and mastered that type of practice when you were only 11 years old. You might not even know what he or she is talking about because it is so second nature for you.
And let’s not even get into the lessons you may or may not have learned in past lives . . .
Yes, patience and humility are definitely needed in abundance.
Okay, time to get back to my puzzle.
May you cherish each and every piece, that you may find ever increasing peace.
[P.S. I love searching for pieces by reading your blogs. If your blog is not on my blog roll, let me know, I’d love to try to understand your unique point of view.]