Zen Day 6: Thunderbolt

What meditation does slowly, slowly, a good shout of the master, unexpectedly, in the situation where the disciple was asking some question, and the master jumps and shouts, or hits him, or throws him out of the door, or jumps over him…. 

These methods were never known. It was purely the very creative genius of Ma Tzu, and he made many people enlightened. Sometimes it looks so hilarious: he threw a man from the window, from a two-storey house, and the man had come to ask on what to meditate. And Ma Tzu not only threw him, he jumped after him, fell on him, sat on his chest, and he said, “Got it?!” 

And the poor fellow said, “Yes” – because if you say “No,” he may beat you or do something else! It is enough – his body is fractured, and Ma Tzu, sitting on his chest, says, “Got it?!” And in fact he got it, because it was so sudden, out of the blue – he could never have conceived it.

Osho Isan: No Footprints in the Blue Sky Chapter 4

The card shows a tower being burned, destroyed, blown apart. A man and a woman are leaping from it not because they want to, but because they have no choice. In the background is a transparent, meditating figure representing the witnessing consciousness. 

You might be feeling pretty shaky right now, as if the earth is rocking beneath your feet. Your sense of security is being challenged, and the natural tendency is to try to hold on to whatever you can. But this inner earthquake is both necessary and tremendously important – if you allow it, you will emerge from the wreckage stronger and more available for new experiences. 

After the fire, the earth is replenished; after the storm the air is clear. Try to watch the destruction with detachment, almost as if it were happening to somebody else. Say yes to the process by meeting it halfway.


When I pulled this card this morning, my first reaction was to chuckle and then declare sarcastically, “Well, of course!  Why not?”

Upon reading the card’s commentary, however, it became clear very quickly that the thunderbolt theme was, in fact, apropos.  I had just awoken from a rather sleepless night spent repeatedly awakening from a never-ending dream, in which friends and family kept handing me nameless medications and reminding me to take my medications without any explanations; it was a dream of being completely out of control and feeling helpless.  When seen through the lens of the thunderbolt card, though, I began to see that dream as a friendly reminder: first, yes, I am feeling out of control with all of these medications being shoved at me, but, second, if I can acknowledge that lack of control and my discomfort, I can consciously step away from it and learn from it.


As of yesterday afternoon, the entire IVF cycle *should* be paid for, which is a huge weight off our shoulders.  It took a lot of scrimping and saving and even taking a chunk of change out of my personal savings, but we made it.  Now that we know everything is covered, I think we are both relaxing a little.

That said, once I moved the last of the money into the IVF account, we had absolutely no money for ourselves until this coming Tuesday, save $40.  So, BD went to the corner store and stocked up on his staples (over-sugared cereal, whole milk, beer, ground beef, jalepenos, onion, and green peppers); we then each made our respective huge batches of comfort food: spaghetti with beefy tomato sauce for BD and couscous and beans for me; following that, we made a huge pot of Irish steel-cut oatmeal to be ready for our early morning and called it a night.

It was actually pretty fun getting creative with such sparing ingredients (at least, for me)!  I cooked the beans in my new tagine that my sister bought me and they turned out fabulous; the unglazed tagine gave the beans an earthy taste that was spectacular.  I highly recommend investing in a tagine; they are the low-tech equivalent of the slow-cooker and make such beautiful table presentations.

Moroccan-spiced azuki beans with couscous

  • 1 cup azuki beans
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1/2 T. cumin
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • salt & pepper
Place the beans, onion, bay leaves, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, and vegetable broth in tagine, cover, and set stove to medium-low.  Leave for 2.5 hours.  If you can’t fit all of the broth in at once, just pour the rest in after an hour or so.
In a separate pot with a lid, boil 2 cups water.  Pour cousous and raisins in and return to a boil.  Once boiling turn off stove, cover pot, and let sit for at least five minutes.  Before serving, adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil, and fluff with a fork.
To serve, pile a mound of couscous on a plate and spoon beans over the top.  If you’re like me and love vinegar, serve with a little rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar to brighten the beans.
Recap of Day 5: my feet continued to feel swollen and I slept horridly, although I’m not sure if that was just due to bad dreams and BD being tossy-turny all night.

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