Here goes another Chinese proverb, “既來之，則安之”. It originally meant when people come from afar, settle them down and help make them comfortable. Pretty apt advice for humanity in face of the refugee situation(s) right now. I’m getting quite a few updates from the IRC, and it hurts to read. Anyhow, let’s not go there. 😥
The other meaning as it evolves through time, is that since you are here, settle into this space, basically similar to the idea of “you are here“. The way I read it is that since you have arrived at this time/space, whatever that brought you here does not matter; whatever that you thought you are here for, but is not happening, does not matter; you are here, that is all that matters – being here, in this present moment, this very powerful present moment. Why I see this saying as powerful is because when you focus on just being, instead of getting all caught up in the monkeymind-ing of “why this”, “why not that”, “wasn’t it supposed to xxx”, there is so much we can do. The power is really in that present moment. When we take all and everything that is available in that present moment, that is how powerful it is. If instead, we let in a little distraction, it (questions, wonderings, etc) takes up space from the full power of the moment, basically wasting bits of what is (or could have been) available to us. That is why the latter part of the saying is very strong – 則安之. “则” is kind of a “but” or a “might as well”, which also shows us that it may not be what you have imagined in the former part “既來之” of “since you are here”. There are somewhat tones of helplessness in it, but the power is in how and what we make of it.
That is as much as my understanding of this language goes. I am not sure whether this viewpoint had been coloured by the circumstances where I heard those words. The Taiwanese professor/dean I was working with on the farm used to always console me with this phrase. The angsty me would always go, “it’s not supposed to be like that”, or “that was not how we set it out to be”, etc. I used to take it very literally, and just hung around like, “since I’m here”, I’ll just sulk and “be (physically) present” and you can just talk to my empty mind and empty heart (basically a walking corpse).
Guess I have ventured pretty far since then. Last night’s chatter about my viewpoint of zen in my colloquial native language was so much more lighthearted than the sullenness it used to hold. Haha, in our crappy native tongue (Singlish), I would say I am in a space of blissful “lanlan-ness” – where I am caught in a state of “bohbian-ness” but since I’m here, well, just embrace whatever is available and do whatever best possible.
A little tenuous to link to today’s prompt, but I guess we can consider this the resurrection of all the power we have when we awaken to it? It is all in us.