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Lions Roar : January 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2007 27 In the stuck-teeth phone call, I experi- ence the same misplaced concern. I can tell that my unresponsiveness is making the caller uncomfortable. “Look,” I finally say, as my teeth at last unglue themselves from each other, crown intact. “How do you see the world?” The woman tells me how overwhelmed she is with Iraq, U.S. politics, school, her hus- band, her job, traffic. I’m guessing that she is around twenty-five. An East Coaster. Maybe from Boston. I know she is sincere because it isn’t easy to track me down and she man- aged to find my cell phone number. “Break it down,” I tell her. “How do you see your husband?” Her answer is long. She doesn’t much like him. I wonder why they are married. “He’s holy,” I say. She says nothing. “How about your boss?” Another long answer. Her concerns sound legitimate. The woman she is de- scribing may be the most unskilled boss on the face of the planet. “Well ... she’s holy too.” The caller doesn’t like this answer ei- ther. There is a silence. This time it is at her end of the line. It feels long. Finally, “Is everyone holy?” “Yup. This includes your pets, your yard, your car if you have one.” The phone goes dead. It would have been so much easier for both of us if I’d said I was enlightened, given her the answer she wanted to hear. But I would have been lying. The word is too far away from how I live my life. I don’t even know how to think about it anymore. Instead, I’ve learned the hard way that for those of us determined to measure our progress on the spiritual path, a more helpful test is to ask ourselves a simple question: “Is everything and everyone precious?” Then, if we must have extra points, à la high school, we can ask ourselves, “Is everyone and everything holy?” If the answer is anything but “Of course,” we have work to do. ♦ From The Chocolate Cake Sutra: Ingredients for a Sweet Life, by Geri Larkin. © 2007 by Geri Larkin. Reprinted by permission of HarperSanFrancisco, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.