The Beauty and Chaos of Meeting our Edge

By KM Huber

“The reason everything looks beautiful is because it is out of balance, but its background is always in perfect harmony” (Shunryu Suzuki). Appreciating present moment awareness as beauty can be a challenge for just as readily, living in the moment can seem like chaos. Regardless, the background of existence is ever in balance.

The background balance is the source of infinite possibilities available in every moment we have. Our lives are up-and-down, in and out, and all the while, the undulating harmony of existence allows this and then that.

There are many names for such harmony—Buddha nature, the web that has no weaver, God, Allah, the Tao— and underlying them all is impermanence, the alternating pain and pleasure that is part and parcel of the human condition.

All the great traditions offer ways to accept impermanence, for if we can wrap ourselves around the idea that change is what offers us opportunities, we can live in the moment with acceptance of whatever comes our way.

There is no one way to present moment awareness but all the traditions encourage living life fully present. They offer prayer and meditation as tools to finding our middle way for balance is uniquely personal.

It is the nature of impermanence that our lives require constant adjustment. Just when we think we have found balance, a way to live that accounts for most possibilities, something changes. Sometimes, everything changes or at least seems that way.
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Those are the moments of greatest opportunity, and they often require everything of us. Our emotions rage. These are not moments to be passed off in positive platitudes or repressed in any way. These are moments to explore the energy beneath the emotion.

Many of the traditions define emotion as raw energy with thought or a story attached to it. Usually, story after story emerges as our emotions churn, and the more stories there are, the more we attach to those thoughts. Before we know it, our thoughts have removed us from the raw energy of what is occurring.

The result is we either stuff the emotion away or devise a strategy to control what we are feeling but regardless, we do not immerse ourselves in the rawness. However, impermanence is the nature of existence so we never lack for opportunity.

What present moment awareness offers is a way to wake up and be in the rawness. It plunges us into the energy without the thoughts.

It is not surprising that we are resistant to being in the moment for it means accepting the unknown, although in general, we accept that life is unpredictable. We want a certain amount of unpredictability in our lives but we do not want to be uncomfortable.

When something outside our regular routine occurs, we get unsettled, and we struggle for balance. Whether the occurrence is as minor as not being able to get a cup of coffee or if it is life-changing, accepting impermanence as the nature of our lives gives us the power to deal with change. It is not approval of any event but acceptance of impermanence.

“So this place of meeting our edge, of accepting the present moment and the unknown, is a very powerful place for the person who wishes to awaken and open their heart and mind…it is what propels us toward transformation…the present moment is the fuel for your personal journey” (Pema Chödrön).

Meditation and prayer are always available to us, no matter where we are in our lives. As two, sustainable resources they take us to our center, to our balance. In finding our unique, middle way, we awaken our hearts and minds to the constant chaos that is the world.


KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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