Three Steps to the Left, Around the Front of the Car
byÂ Zen Master Bon HaengÂ on Jan 1, 1992
A couple of years ago I was walking to to work, a walk which takes me through several busy intersections in Cambridge. My mind was filled with the dayâ€™s activities and plans. Consequently, my attention at that particular moment was not with the moment as it was unfolding.
I was crossing a particularly busy intersection; a blind man was walking beside me, waving his stick back and forth. As this man was walking, his stick hit a car parked right in the crosswalk. I glanced over and you could see an expression of â€œwhat is this?â€ on his face. He didnâ€™t know how to overcome this obstacle in his path. Perhaps he thought he had lost his way or that he had not counted his steps correctly. As I watched, another man looked up and said: â€œThree steps to the left, around the front of the car.â€ And I said to myself, â€œThatâ€™s wonderful. But where was l?â€
This is our practice. It is not some great, expanded commitment to the universe. Itâ€™s not some hope of how things can be in the future. It is not some longing for things to be as they were in the past. It is only in this moment, responding spontaneously: what can each one of us do that is of service?
Our task as we go through our daily lives is to cultivate this practice that we are already connected with. Only donâ€™t know; how can I be of service? I often wish it were more complicated, but just canâ€™t seem to find more to it. Thatâ€™s all there is.