#975 The Tenth of an Inch

Of Difference Between Heaven and Hell

We talk a lot about the futility of arguing with reality.

As Byron Katie so perfectly says, “When I argue with reality I lose. But only 100% of the time.” (Hah.)

Today we’re going to take another look at that wisdom from a slightly different angle.

We’ll invite a couple of modern Zen Masters to the party: Joko Beck and Phil Jackson.

We’ll start with legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson’s wisdom. In his book Sacred Hoops, he tells us: “In Zen it is said that the gap between accepting things the way they are and wishing them to be otherwise is ‘the tenth of an inch of difference between heaven and hell.’ If we can accept whatever we’ve been dealt—no matter how unwelcome—the way to proceed eventually becomes clear. This is what is meant by right action: the capacity to observe what’s happening and act appropriately, without being distracted by self-centered thoughts. If we rage and resist, our angry, fearful minds have trouble quieting down sufficiently to allow us to act in the most beneficial way for ourselves and others.

Thank you, Phil.

Now for Joko Beck. In Everyday Zen, she tells us: “If we require that life be a certain way, inevitably we suffer—since life is always the way it is, and not always fair, not always pleasant. Life is not particularly the way we want it to be, it is just the way it is. And that need not prevent our enjoyment of it, our appreciation, our gratitude.

That’s Today’s +1.

When/if we find ourselves a little (or a lot annoyed) Today—whether that’s with our kids or our colleagues or ourselves—let’s see if we can step back and notice the gap between what’s happening in the moment and what we want to be happening in the moment.

That tenth of an inch?

Let’s close it.

-1. -1. -1. for the +1 win!

P.S. If you’re getting all crazy-ragey? Well, you just fell into a mile-long chasm between reality and your fantasy of what should be happening. Good news? Just snap your fingers, love what it is and that gap magically vanishes. 🤓

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