What can the Average Buddhist do to approximate a similar exercise in creation and destruction?
There was a long period in my life during which I forgot about the joy of puzzle building. When I was a child, I used to voraciously build puzzles on the weekends. My parents enjoyed puzzles as well and we sometimes turned them into family projects.
About two years ago, I was poking around in my parents’ basement sifting through old things and I found a shelf full of their old thousand-piece puzzles. I felt like I’d discovered buried treasure! Before the end of the evening, the puzzles were dusted off, packed up and stacked in my car heading home with me.
Initially, I didn’t recognize any potential connection to my Buddhist practice. I just thought about how I had rediscovered an old joyful hobby. First, I finished on puzzle that I had purchased partly because the design matched the colors of my office. I went out and got the puzzle glue and framed it and it’s now hanging over my desk.
Then I finished the second puzzle – a thousand-piecer of tropical fish – that had come from my parents’ stash. It was challenging. It was…too pretty to just disassemble…So, I slipped it off of the puzzle holder and under the glass of our family room table, where we could all enjoy looking at it.
Then my daughter had a temper tantrum.
This is when I first figured out that puzzles are a good exercise in embracing impermanence.
The next puzzle I worked on came in a cute little suitcase-shaped box and had a design of Boston and various symbols of Boston. Once again, the pieces were deceptive and easy to link together incorrectly. This one was larger than the town puzzle though. So, it took longer to put together. Under the glass it went.
“It’s just time.”