For the sake of ourselves

For the sake of ourselves 256 256 Sybille Sciamma

« We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves »

Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

I read and the book fells off my hands
I wish I would abide by this wisdom
but existing “for the sake of myself” seems
far too self-centered

For in the heart of my heart
deep deep down I recognize
I am ashamed of my own being

like the air I breathe
was stollen from somebody else

and I always try to buy back my existence:
be useful, be kind, bring joy, care for
and most of all, charm my way out of this suffering

Sometimes I rebel and test asserting myself
like I would suddenly
not choose the worst seat around the table

But soon I regret my temerity
feel all wobbly
and blush like a child being scorned

I think I’m far from the only one to feel this way
pretty sure half the human kind
is plagued by the same flaw

and would shrug to the idea of
“existing for the sake of oneself”
with a sad and sardonic smile

quite different from Shunryu Suzuki’s « why not? » smile
in his portrait from the original back cover of the book
I will persist in my reading after all…

Photo Robert S. Boni, from the original back cover of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, 1970