"As you feel you're losing your grip more and more and your heart is more and more uneasy, don't give up and slack off: this is the place to cut off the heads of a thousand sages."
The above is from http://www.godrinktea.com/, a nice koan blog that I read when it's updated
I'll admit, the past week or so has been relatively tough for me. If my life had gone slightly differently, Monday would have been my one year wedding anniversary with my college sweetheart. Instead I'm sitting in an empty apartment and staring at a computer screen, preparing to start a new restaurant job and, in the next few months, going back to school for a career as a drug counselor.
I talked with my room mate about it this morning, and he reminded me that had his life gone differently, he would also be married and a lieutenant in the coast guard. Instead, the two of us wound up moving in together, in the process of which we became close friends again after about five years of distance and I stepped on this wild Zen path because it was all that made sense to me. I made a comment to the effect that the lesson is that life doesn't necessarily unfold the way we expect it to. He replied that it's a mistake to look for a lesson at all, that life occurs and we "persevere, as always".
After this surprisingly helpful exchange, I jumped on the internets and found the quote I posted at the top of this entry. which sort of dovetails nicely with what my room mate was saying, or at least it seems to from my current vantage point. Life is not a strict point a to point b scenario, and trying to view it as such is not the best idea. Ideally, we should react to the circumstances in our current life the way it is, and not get lost in what might have been.
The nice thing about life is that when I momentarily forget the basic lessons, I get reminders from unexpected places. And I am off to persevere or to cut the heads off of sages, whichever presents itself first.