Raven 83: Too Busy

As you begin the practice, visit many teachers. Sit a retreat, or attend three or four weekly gatherings, with each one. Then pick one and settle down for 10 years or so -- or for as long as you both live, if it's working out. Changing teachers every year or two or three is not recommended. It's hard to set the judging mind aside when you're constantly asking yourself if some other teacher would be "better." It is, as Raven says, too much busy-ness. Of course, even settling in is too much busy-ness. So what wouldn't be too busy?

Owl said, "I notice that some students go from teacher to teacher. What do you think of this?"
Raven said, "Busy."
"After all," Owl said, "practice is a matter of settling in."
Raven said, "Still too busy."
Owl said nothing.
Busy, as a swift brook,
As cirrus clouds, striping the sky,
As glaciers are, melting,
And as they were, before that.
Busy as the owl on her night branch, listening.

Life and history make of me
A bearer of mostly futile love.
Seven generations hence,
Justice will mean something else,
Or maybe nothing much at all.
Perhaps the struggles and projects
Of my fifth-great-grandchildren
Will not invoke justice.
Perhaps, for them, it will be a
Dusty classical virtue, like prudence.

All the strands of the world flow into me
And out again, some a little stronger,
Or weaker, or more refined, or less.
When they arrive at the late 22nd century
With unrecognizable textures and weavings,
Will their time spent weaving me
Be more help or more hindrance
To the aims and needs of that time?
About equal measures of each, I guess.

Busy as a cheetah's tail,
As a cow's four stomachs --
Busy as soil erosion,
As the silent moon and the Sahara dunes.
Busy as Rigel at Orion's knee, so
Busy. Oh,
Too busy.
Case by Robert Aitken, adapted; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

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