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Saturday, July 12, 2014

How to Fall

I didn't create this story. I heard Joko Beck once tell it. I don't think she created it, either.

But nonetheless.

There once was an enlightened man who climbed a ten-story building to repair a roof. He admired the flow of traffic, how the roads curved and the streetlights glowed. Before he began meditation, he recalled how life was like standing in the middle of the road where cars whizzed past and life felt so harried and confusing. Now he understood where the cars were going. He had space.

The work he needed to do required that he dangle halfway over the edge with one leg. It was very dangerous work, so he followed all the proper safety precautions. With a tool belt around his waist and a harness keeping him firmly secure, he went about the repair.

But despite his efforts, the safety harness that kept him clipped to the roof failed. Through no fault of his own, a strap had frayed and the enlightened man began his fall. Being a ten-story building with pavement below, his death was imminent. Down he plummeted past the ninth floor.

The eighth floor.

The seventh.


Somewhere near the fifth floor, a resident was watering houseplants on her balcony. As the enlightened man plunged past her, he could be heard talking.

She heard him say, "So far, so good."

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