One Step

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 64


Sitting still allows us to notice the subtle stirrings of the mind.
Small thoughts that lead to suffering are seen early and easily set aside.
Since trouble begins in the mind,
we watch the mind with care
and trouble is stopped before it begins.

This practice seems so passive and still.
Yet it is the seedling
from which the great tree grows.
It is the single step
that begins the journey of a thousand miles.

If we hurry or force our practice,
it slips away from us.
We release ideas of success and failure.
We patiently take the next necessary step
and everything unfolds as it should.
We lay down our wanting
and pick up our contentment.
We lay down our conditioning
and pick up our true nature.
We gently help all beings everywhere
return to their true nature.




That single step. That step right before me now. This step is everything! There is nothing else, ever. There is always only this single step. If this step seems overwhelming, I am not seeing it correctly. The overwhelming nature of it comes from trying to anticipate a hundred steps ahead. This journal entry is being written one … word … at … a … time. There is nothing else in life but these words, right here, right now.

The coffee is brewed and I will pour a cup. Then I will read for a bit and then Nancy will be up and we will talk together. Later today I will be painting the utility room in the cabin. I will stir paint, climb a step stool, and roll paint on the ceiling and walls. Winter is coming and pipes need insulating, doors need to be sealed, and the snow blower needs to be serviced.

I wrote the above words without letting them lead me into the future. They are simply words expressing the present moment as I sit at a cramped little cabin table and listen to the flute music of Carlos Nakai. If I can stay aware, the whole day will flow as simply as these words. How do we heal the Earth? One small personal step at a time.

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