Happy New Year! Every day is a good day to commit to a spiritual practice, of course, but many people think of new beginnings especially at this time of year. What are your spiritual practices? Perhaps you'd say they could use an overhaul?
I recommend some time sitting -- by which I mean simply sitting perfectly still and silent, eyes just barely open, bringing attention to your breath, and bringing attention back to the breath again every time it wonders, as it most definitely will.
To stick with it, though, you'll need to know that it usually won't fill you with peace and bliss. Alex Tzelnic writes that "Meditation Is Not Always Bliss, and That’s a Good Thing.” He says:
"Sitting every day requires sitting even when one does not feel like it, because that is when discomfort arises, and one can begin to become at ease with unease. This is easier said than done, but in the end that is precisely the point."Yours in the faith we share,
Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups
I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)
The Jan 2 worship service, "Question Box":
PRACTICE OF THE WEEK
Training in Compassion #6: Be a Child of Illusion
From Norman Fischer’s Training in Compassion. Training #6 is: "Be a child of Illusion." What is a child of illusion? It means being childlike in acceptance of certain attitudes, hopes, and beliefs commonly regarded as illusions – such as:
- Radical transformation is possible.
- The world can be suffused with love.
- One can enjoy a measure of happiness and peace in the crazy world we live in.
This doesn't mean ignoring the more difficult side of life. It just means that we don't have to let that side completely colonize mind and heart. The child's world still exists in you, too. You can have your appropriate adult perspective, while also cultivating, to go along with it, a child's-eye view of the world.
You can stop every now and then and look out the window. What do you see out there: a tree, the sky, a tall building? Whatever it is, take it in for a moment with wonder. Be amazed by what is immediately there in front of you.
When we practice being children of illusion, we expand and loosen our grip on conventional reality.
Training number two was "see everything as a dream." Number three was "examine the nature of awareness," four was "don't get stuck on peace," and five was "rest in the openness of mind." Together with being a child of illusion, these trainings expand and smooth the space we are living in, breaking down the walls that have been causing us pain, sorrow, and loneliness.
Resting childlike in openness of mind in this dream-like life, you will feel protected and at peace. You are loved, and love is built into the nature of what you and the world are.
See the full post: "Be a Child of Illusion."
See also our SPIRITUAL PRACTICE DIRECTORY
Here it is, your MOMENT OF ZEN
As for realization and equanimity, which one is beaver and which is dam?
As for teaching, remember what Huangbo (755?-850) said: "I do not say that there is no Zen, but that there is no Zen teacher" (Blue Cliff Record 11, Book of Serenity 53).
In a private meeting Woodpecker asked, "Is realization the same as equanimity?"Verse
Raven said, "Don't confuse the beaver with the dam."
Woodpecker asked, "What's equanimity?"
Raven said, "I'm not a very good teacher."
Woodpecker said, "Oh, come on!"
Raven said, "It's okay."
Some of them, though, had a gardener.
Daffodils did not have teachers.
They did not study the craft
They were not taught to have six petals
And a corona,
Or drilled in color selection;
Took no classes in stem construction,
Received no instruction in photosynthesis.
From blithe stamen to untutored roots,
Throughout its growing, the daffodil was
An incorrigible truant.
No, no daffodil ever had a teacher.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonPREVIOUS ☙ NEXT ☙ INDEX