On Being Nobody Special

In the eating hall, a stuffed parrot hung from the ceiling, and from its golden beak dangled a card that read, “We are in training to be nobody special.” I had often repeated this to myself, working against my need for achievement and recognition, and the discontent that could engender. “I am in training to be nobody special.” Saying the words in my mind, I felt how they redirected me from a certain seductive struggle and excitement and disease, into a more stable focus: forget what others think of you, forget the future goal of achievement; arrive instead in this body/mind, attending to this present moment. This is is the whole of practice.

-Sandy Boucher, “Hidden Spring”

Ouch….and praise Buddha from Whom all blessings flow! Sometimes things happen in life, and I am prompted to say “I’m a believer.” This is one of them. Here I am, well into a day of self-pity and powerlessness and “what am I going to do” angst about this and that….and then this. A clear directive, reminding me of what needs to be done, which is…nothing. This reminds me of one of my “best friend” books: St. Nadie in Winter: Zen Encounters with Loneliness, by Terrance Keenan. Nadie means “no one.” Nadie is a mirror, if we’re motivated to look.

“Excitement and disease”…. “future goal of achievement”……. All these fall away in this moment, and there is no end to this moment.

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