Introduction: The original version of “Life Without Backgrounds or Frames: ‘Time’s Arrow,’ by Hiroshi Sugimoto” (8/25/2023) was an email written for a young visitor to Quaker Meeting who was stuck in an overburdened local homeless shelter, having fled an abusive living situation.…
I first saw “Time’s Arrow,” the 1987 photo collage by Hiroshi Sugimoto, as an illustration in the Spring 2018 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly.
The image grabbed me, and I saved it as an image for contemplation. It has taken me a while to grasp what the image suggests for me.
After a series of difficult personal losses and challenges over the past two months, I set the image as the lock screen for my laptop. It is the…
So difficult to sit doing nothing
unless enforced by the presence of others.
Alone, I want to be busy every moment.
What makes me uneasy with stillness?
I’m not doing anything!
You are breathing, pumping blood.
Holding down the chair.
No. That word
came from elsewhere than cleverness.
That word is
closer to the bones.
There is a grave error in the penitential notion of “mortifying the body.”
It replicates the false dualism of “spirit versus matter ” that crept into and overwhelmed the Jewish faith and practice of Jesus as his followers spread out through the Greco-Roman world.
A truer practice is to “affirm the body,” to affirm it as a mortal yet sacred part of the divine whole.
When I allow myself to suffer the large or small sufferings of my body,