It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to sit at this computer and compose a few words that touch on being mindful, living mindfully, trusting the wisdom of our bodies and minds. This will be brief, but it will be a chance to start over again.
I do not play chess. I learned how to play years ago, but it never sank in and I did not pursue the game. It’s a great game, and I wish I had some skill in this area.
But I do know one thing about chess: in order to defend your king, you need to use your queen to full advantage. And if you lose her, you’re very likely to lose all. You must attack with her, but at the same time defend her to the end. She has the most power, and if you do not pay attention to her and protect her zealously, you will likely lose all.
In Christianity the Holy Spirit is understood as the gift of God that brings full life to each of us. From the Holy Spirit flows grace, the gratuitous largesse of a compassionate and ever-creating God. The Holy Spirit, in Christianity, is a feminine principle. She brings you to a new life, creates a new heart in you, nurtures you and helps you grow.
For a Christian, the Holy Spirit is your Queen. And the life she has brought to you, and continues to bring to you, must be protected zealously. If you ignore her, if you do not defend her with great attention, then you risk losing all. It’s too high a price to pay.
In Christianity, Jesus tells a parable of the ten virgins (Matthew Chapter 25). It goes like this:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Being mindful is “keeping watch.” It is being ready, for you do not know the day nor the hour when the bridegroom, the object of your life, the Kingdom or Heaven itself, will arrive. When the Holy Spirit arrives, when she brings you the new life you seek, the new life you know you must embrace, be ready, be awake!
The last act of a Zen monk before going to sleep is to chant thusly: “Life and death are of supreme importance. Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost. Let us awaken, awaken! Do not squander your life.”
Be awake. Be ready. You do not know the day nor the hour when your life will appear before you. That one chance you may have, to lose it is like losing your Queen. Keep watch. Do not squander your life.