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Hope (A Zen Perspective)

Mindfulness is being present in the given moment. Parker Palmer speaks about fidelity and faith as being linked together. The faith we have is not that we follow a predetermined, linear path where hope lives. Rather it is a speculative hope and faith born from deep faith that each moment is transient and what exists in each moment comes and go.

Richard Schiffman proposed hope is not an appetite for this or that concocted future. With faith in ourselves, others, and things beyond explanation, fidelity to phenomena never fully explainable and indescribable, the present unlearns the past and the present moves comfortably into an agnostic future.

When we take time, pause and breath, we enter each moment able to let go of fictitious pasts and fantastic futures, living in this particular moment, no this one.

Hope is not about some future meadow.
Hope is not a triumphal march toward some brighter,
bloodless field. Neither is it lighting a candle
or cursing the darkness or calling the glass half full.
It is this half-empty tumbler turning cartwheels
above the chasm. You, for example—
poised above your own private precipice,
bruised and bloodied, sifting through the ashes
of ten thousand burnt offerings.
Don’t scatter those ashes; don’t stuff the corpses
into body bags just yet. Don’t launch a fleet
of skyrockets to cheer up Gehenna. Don’t pretend
that you’re still hungry, like those battle-blind birds
pecking for seeds between the corpses.
Hope is not an appetite for this or that concocted future.
It is the present seeking itself, the present—
unlearning the past, agnostic of the future—
breathing, in its chains, like the sea.

About ivonprefontaine

I have been an educator for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in private industry for 15 years, then returned to university to earn my education degree. For the past 11 years, I have been a co-creator of learning in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. A main theme in my learning there has been the roles of systems thinking, complexity theory, and organizational theory, and how they apply to education generally and the learning environment I share with students, parents, and colleagues.

16 responses »

  1. Loved this Ivon, thank you

    Reply
  2. Beautiful thoughts and I loved the poem. The present seeking the present… Reading that was like feeling the sun break through the clouds and fall upon my shoulders.

    Michael

    Reply
  3. And faith is trust, trust that I’ve come this far and continue to have the inner resources and fortitude to be now. xoxoM

    Reply
  4. This realization has guided my life for some time now, “each moment is transient and what exists in each moment comes and go(es).”

    Reply
  5. Faith for me is at the bottom of the moment. There are those who have faith in God and those who have faith that there is no God. There are those who choose to have faith in nothing and no one. When one has faith in something and is not just wondering, one can enjoy every moment they are in. A linear path is a path set by man with an objective and not by the faith one should have in their own beliefs. It takes faith to believe in God, no God, or in nothing. If we set our own path we are living in our moment. So living in the moment for that moment can be true in any case because that moment will for sure pass and another moment will come. Having faith in the current moment as well as the future moment that my life here on earth means something, I believe in God and that the future holds something better that just death. So each moment in this life I will cherish always looking forward to my next moment!

    A very mind provoking blog. Well done!

    Reply
    • Thank you Bill for the great comment. I believe in God, as well. John Caputo, a professor at Syracuse, says faith like that is an invitation and the non-linear aspect is the way we accept the invitation. When we become mindful in the acceptance, it changes our faith completely. It is no longer taken for granted because we choose that faith.

      Reply
  6. Pingback: Hope (A Zen Perspective) | Heart_Matters | Sco...

  7. This is a wonderful post, filled with insight and wisdom. Each line as strong as the last, it echoes my thoughts on being mindful. Your poem has great strength and truth. Thankyou.

    Reply

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