Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do Not Doing

A few years ago Dottie, Paul and I went to visit friends who live in the Yukon. It was an unforgettable trip into a world of which I’d only read and dreamed. There are thousands of miles of pure wilderness unspoiled by convenience and machinery. In the evenings, Dale, Paul and I would go fishing and not even get out on the lake until 10 or 11 at night. The sun was still high in the sky and we’d fish until 1 or 2 in the morning. One evening we’d put in and had a lot of marshy water to go through until we could get out deep enough to move faster. It was a lake miles long and wide and we were the only boat in sight.

As we plowed through the shallow water a flash of movement exploded on our left and there within a few feet was a huge Bald Eagle coming out of the water with a fish in it’s beak. I looked in its golden eye and saw the silver fish still struggling against the edge of the beak. Water was slinging of the feathers and over the motor of our boat, I could almost hear air pushed through its wings like gusts through high county pines.

It flew beside us for a few yards and I had a chance to experience the power of that great bird from its piercing gaze to the reptile-like skin on its talons. Feather by feather, I soaked in the experience until the fan of its tail feathers flipped and ruddered the eagle out over solid land away from us. Out of danger from us, it stopped driving itself forward and stretched out into a glide until it disappeared in the high grass about 1,000 yards from the water.

It changed forever the way I read Isaiah 40: 31, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”

We are hindered by our rational minds. The eagle has no such problem. He just does what he does without the interference of thinking. Isaiah says that the strength of the Lord is out of hope not calculation. The Zen Buddhists call it “Do not doing.” In other words, the eagle just soars with a strength that he just has without thinking. He doesn’t do it on purpose he just does it.

When we hope in our higher power alone, our strength comes from places we can’t point out. It comes from so far deep inside that it can’t possibly come from us. It’s deeper than we are, stronger that we are and not as limited as we are. And yet, it’s within us.

We don’t do that kind of power. All we can do is not do it and allow it to happen. Allowing it to happen is all we can manage. Or maybe all we can do is keep from stopping it. How many times have we stopped the power of God from coming through by telling ourselves that it’s all impossible?


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