Years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Niwa Zenji, the then head of the Soto Zen sect in
Eihei-ji, Japan. At one point I was describing some of the privileges I’d been accorded during my travels in Japan and asked him why they’d happened to me, an ordinary tourist. Referring to one incident at Todaiji Temple in Nara he said, “Those monks could clearly see you were a man of faith.”
“I am?” I responded—shocked. I had no concept of myself that included “man of faith.” On the contrary, I felt myself plagued with doubts. Nor have I, in the ensuing years, developed greater interest in what people believe. On the contrary, I’ve been far more curious about what they knew as a result of walking a particular path So I was surprised to find myself starting a new collection of poems, entitled, “A Matter Of Faith.” Even more surprising, returning home from dropping my older daughter off at college in Washington, DC a few weeks ago, I found myself having a direct encounter with my faith. In the days following, I’ve struggled to articulate that faith, so this poem is definitely a work in progress.
In Truth, we are never alone.
We can never be apart from
The whole of creation.
It is not possible.
I am part of everything that is
And everything that is
Is part of me.
I am worthy of being here and
You are worthy of being here—
Each of us
With our individual parts to play
In the vast unfolding of it all.
I am home.
We are home.