Welcome – Well Come and Falling Snow

Extraverts have a reputation for energy, but in fact they find it difficult to remain alert without constant reinforcement from the surroundings. As a result they are always influencing, and influenced by, that environment. If good-natured, they try to have good relations with others. Their inner weather depends on the outer weather, which they can only partially control.

Those who can turn within, however, can develop considerable independence – they carry their own weather with them. If it consists of thunderstorms, they are unhappy; but if they have learnt how to create serenity, they can carry a clear sky wherever they go.

Suppose it is a question of coming to attend a serious meeting.  The extravert takes a chair, but does not check how it is placed. Perhaps he puts his things on a neighbouring chair.  Now when someone else arrives, the extravert will at once sit up and move the chair a fraction, and gather up the things, with a little smile. This is a gesture of welcome, and gets relations off to a good start. It makes a tiny disturbance, but in the form of a welcome. Thus there is a constant little bustle till the audience is complete, and the meeting – a concert or an address, is about to begin. Then with a conscious effort, the audience focuses its attention. It cannot be said that this is bad;  many of the members of the audience feel both welcoming and welcomed.

Falling Snow

But there is a another way. Someone with a little inner training, checks the position of the chair before sitting down, and is careful not to encroach on any neighbouring space. He settles down silently, and then withdraws and sits still. With audience of this kind, the place fills up without any disturbance; they come in, as the Zen phrase has it, like snow-flakes falling’. The silence can deepen into an almost a tangible peace. When the concert or address begins, it is heard by minds already calm, and correspondingly capable of fullest appreciation.

They come in this way who have passed through the Zen riddle called The Sound Of One Hand.  They have well come.

© Trevor Leggett

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