You’ve probably seen people in real life and on TV – celebrities and regular people – do it. In Western cultures, it’s most often associated with saying a prayer. In many Eastern cultures, it’s used to express a greeting or a farewell, or to say thanks, or show reverence – and, in a rather reflexive way, if one person does it, the other person does it back almost without thinking. Boggles the Mind In Zen, this symbolic gesture, or mudra, is called gassho. It represents the auspiciousness of each moment. Each moment is unique, and all the circumstances that brought about that particular moment can never happen again. We gassho, for instance, at the beginning and end of meals, sitting meditation and ceremonies. In short, it represents a coming together of all space and all time, right here, right now. On the surface, this seems self-evident, but it cannot be fully comprehended on an intellectual level. Taking even just one element and attempting to follow the strands that led to its existence from the beginning of time boggles the mind. Not a Linear Path For instance, I started this article by putting pen to paper. Let’s just take the piece of paper and follow its path to an earlier point. It was one page of a pad that was part of a larger roll that came from a pulpy mass. Before it arrived at the mill, however, it was a log hewn from a tree grown from a seedling in the forest. Before the atoms came into being as a plant, though, they could have been floating somewhere in the universe as anything. But its path is not that linear, because we also must add in the loggers, mill builders and mill workers; and the rain, sun and earthworms that contributed to the optimal soil conditions for the seedlings to sprout. We also need to consider all the other factors that brought each of the above items into existence along the paper’s path. Zap! Again, all these things brought together a moment that will not occur – ever – again. So, you see, to live life in a way that acknowledges that each moment represents the coming together of all space and all time truly is beyond mere intellectual understanding. It requires an intuitive acceptance that hits you with a force like a lightning bolt cutting through a dark stormy night sky. It’s a brightness during which for one brief split second you “see” what Reality is. Zap! Now here’s a question for you: What circumstances had to happen for you to come into existence to be right here, right now, reading this article? Gassho.
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