by cheri block
I had a zen December this past year.
It came about because of a stinging comment my professor made to me while we were in conference.
She told me that there was “too much me” in everything I wrote for her and in my presentation.
Too much me?
Having taught smart high school students all my life, I (luckily) had on my bulletproof vest.
I’ll take that under consideration, was my reply and I walked out, wheeling my little briefcase full of books on medieval warhorses, Viking ships, and the Norman Conquest.
I trundled three blocks to CoHo, the coffee house on the university campus. I ordered tea with lemon. The spoon stirred around in the tea. Maybe there is too much of me in everything I do and write, I thought.
That night, when I arrived home, I dusted off all of my books on Zen Buddhism and began reading again, after a twenty-year hiatus.
Receding from ego has had tremendous spiritual rewards.
Detaching from wants and needs and instead, focusing on a bigger picture, is calming and clarifying.
The self does stamp her feet, every now and then. But that’s OK.
My professor and I met last week to go over my research paper. She asked me how I was doing and I replied, I’m beat.
Can I make you a cup of tea? she asked.
Then, she returned my paper to me.