Secret Sorrow

"Secret Sorrow", number 150 of 188 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

A secret sorrow of unrequited love. The tragedy of a love that might have been.

How does one talk compassionately about this. On the one hand, reality is just what it is. One the other hand, cultural norms are fixed and rigid. Circumstances sometimes conspire to separate people who might otherwise have connected.

Sometimes we have a sense of this missed connection. Sometimes not.

Some people are prone to postulating in this way. Some are not.

How different reality would be if reality was different. This is a "Duhism". Sure we can want things to be different than they are and we can work hard to correct what we see as injustices in the world but in the end reality is just what it is.

This is often discussed in Zen circles. How to balance the truth of reality and the desire to save all beings. This question is one I still struggle with. I work hard to be less and less self centered in as many of the small ways that I can hoping that one day I'll break out and be less self centered in a big way.

We have come full circle. Right here we have my very own 'secret sorrow'. It surprises me that my longing to find ways to be an activist is so tied up "with the tragedy of love that cannot be requited."

Not the lesson Aitken intended, but the one I got. Hands together in peace, thank you Roshi.

Andrea Gibson
Poet and Brave Activist

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on
Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.