It’s sooo easy: when you are tired, sleep; when you are hungry, eat; when you are thirsty, drink. At least this is one of the most quoted wisdoms of a famous zen master.
So why do I start eating when I am tired? And before you ask: no, I don’t go to sleep when I am hungry. Is this just me? I don’t understand it!
It’s a perfect example of knowing what is the right thing to do but doing exactly the opposite.
The thing is that in the case of eating and sleeping it should really be easy, sooo easy. But it’s not, at least not for me. So what about the more complicated, not so easy, not so straight forward stuff? My common sense (the bit that is left) tells me every day that I should do one thing, but than I do another. Like I should be forgiving, generous, empathetic, listening, understanding, helpful, supportive – and I should be: outraged by injustice, corruption and inequality, and be outspoken, uncensored, un-integrated, not pressed into a bad consensus. And then life takes over and I develop blind spots. Isn’t it funny?
Tuesday is, whenever possible, swimming day. An afternoon for Pádraig to relax in the water. To do things, every week, he had not done before, “firsts”. Today’s first was that he held on to the side bar at the deep end of the pool and stood up as tall as he is. Ok, amazing but not really anything completely new… but: he did it almost completely by himself. Without any support from me. Except for helping Pádraig to keep his head balanced. He stood up in the water, holding on to the side bar, with me just supporting his head a little, but nothing more. Isn’t that so unbelievably brilliant?
Going to the pool is the right thing. Allowing us into the pool and helping Pádraig and in any way they can, is the right thing. Knowing that ‘knowing the right thing’ does not mean necessarily ‘doing the right thing’ makes the people helping Pádraig to get into the water my personal heroes. Because they not only know, they actually do the right thing.