26 April 2012

Barely Succeeding at Not Being Much of Anything at All

Every once in a while it kind of hits me that I'm not tops in my class at anything I happen to be involved in.   Not a single one.  No one seeks me out because of my expertise.  No one needs to get in good with me because I have a ready store of favors to bestow.  There will be no top billing at some event for me.  I'll never attract a crowd of hundreds or even dozens or fives.  I am neither at the top nor at the bottom of any chain of command.  I have no power to speak of, save the ability to direct my own personal affairs within the usual parameters most enjoy.

I'd have to say I'm a thoroughly middle of the pack kind of guy.

I used to fret about not having "made more of myself" by now, but I don't any more.  Instead, I find the middle of the pack to be a very congenial place to be.  I get to talk people at either end of whatever spectrum I'm on.  I have something to learn, and I have something to teach.  Those above me need not fear that I'm after their position, and those below me need not fear me stepping on their fingers as I climb some ladder.

I think it takes a certain amount of effort, patience, resolve and dedication to be unremarkable, though, and I won't say that I've been a smashing success at it.  The temptations to shine, to impress, to outwit and achieve are everywhere, and I find I have enough greed in me to entertain them from time to time (ok, rather frequently…).   Craving for becoming and craving for annihilation show up in wanting to either be totally in charge or completely out of the picture, but life is never that simple, now, is it?

I'm slowly learning how not to get involved with things beyond my ken and station, and I'd like to think I'm blending more and more into the fabric of an ever shifting tapestry. 

The story is told in the lineage how Philip Kapleau was taken to be the handyman by someone who came looking for him at the Rochester Zen Center and how happy he was for that.   May we all aspire to (and achieve) such attainment!

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me, too, of the Herman Hesse story quoted in Richard Greenleaf's "Servant Leadership"! You can probably guess the whole story -- the perceived servant ended up having been the leader all along. :)

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this blog. It helps illuminate the path so beautifully.