He looked at me in the enigmatic way he had as he asked the question. I had been in great Sturm und Drang over something that thirty-five years later probably seems trivial. When my spiritual guide asked me, “Rather than focus on what’s threatening to strangle you, why not focus on what’s struggling to be born?” it opened up a new concept for me. It seemed that I didn’t have to be a slave to my problems after all. I could look at them, deal with them, and then change my focus. Later, Walter Brueggemann made it clearer for me when he offered us the concept of the prophetic imagination. Don’t just critique, although that is mandatory; we must create a new situation by first focusing on what COULD be. Buddhism adds such richness to this practice of changing focus by CHOOSING not to take on suffering created by ego. We are mindful of real suffering and give it its just- due. Then we change focus.
This practice of changing focus might be a helpful way of coping with the change of seasons. We may grieve the loss of warm, bright sunshine as more clouds move in, but we can focus on the germination that is going on in the safe hearth of our souls.