Spring came early this year, announced by the first white flowers of fruiting trees. And suddenly
snow comes on a cold wind, pulling us back into Winter. Rocking back and forth between the
seasons, we are reminded of the old saying: “April, April – does whatever he damn well pleases to do” (in German: “April, April, macht, was er will.“) We grumble but carry on, somehow reassured by the knowledge that this is how life stumbles toward the warmth of Summer.

Bouncing between walls
Within that idea, we feel ok to bounce around between the walls of cold and warm.
But what happens when we bounce around much farther than we expected, much farther than
we could imagine? When there is no cold early Spring rain for May flowers or the barley that
brings us beer. When it becomes warm, too soon for the birds migrating from the south or too
cold for the flowers that bloom too early.

Learning together
What happens when our ideas, what we hold ourselves, or what we share with others, no
longer are wide enough to contain the bouncing of the world? What happens when the world
bounces beyond what anyone knows – there is no one to provide an answer?
It means we will have to learn how to live in a world made new again and again by changes we
have not seen before. Such learning involves taking risks in trying new ideas, and we will have
to trust ourselves and each other to face these risks and learn together.

Open Responses
Our Zen practice can support this learning in many ways…first in trusting ourselves as we let go
of the ideas we depended on and open up to a mind that doesn’t know, and then in trusting
each other in our dedication to remaining open as a way of life. Moment-to-moment as we
stare at the floor…the world is reborn with a breath that questions, “what is this?” And it stays
open as we allow every idea or expectation to come and go without strangling our question
with an answer.

This open mind is one way we will help each other to find a path through a
totally new world.

➾ German version