Minister's Post, Fri Mar 25

Dear Ones,

I have said – in the pulpit and out of it – “You are perfect, exactly the way you are.” Each moment is perfect and wondrous, I have said. I know, however, that when we are sick or injured or very tired nothing seems perfect. When we are plodding from one moment to the next and every task is a heavy burden, then wondrous perfection seems very far away. How can this be a bed of roses if all you are feeling is a thousand thorns?

There is wisdom in the body – whether it is a body vibrant, healthy, energetic, and raring to go -- or a body aching, tired, worn out and hurting. Sometimes the body has been ready to muscle through any problem that might arise. Sometimes it isn’t willing to even stumble along.

When all you can do is slow down and watch as your body does all it can to keep you alive under the circumstances, then slowing down and watching is just the wisdom you need. Your brain doesn’t need to figure out what to do – and couldn’t. All you can do is trust that your body is doing the best it can, so trust it. (Assuming, in the case of disease or injury, that you are availing yourself of doctor's advice.)

Vanessa Goddard, dealing with a prolonged illness, wrote:
“The body isn’t just a vehicle for realization, or for getting things done. It’s the root of wisdom—its very source. Sometimes we need to be nudged to remember this. Sometimes the reminder is a bit more blunt. But at the end of the day, the body will have the last word. Mindful of this, I decided it was time to pay closer attention, and to create the conditions that would allow me to better hear what it had to say….None of us can jettison the body or turn a deaf ear to its wishes for long. The body will have the last word….So I am gentling myself back into the soft center of each moment, the spaciousness at the heart of everything. Here, there’s neither fatigue nor vitality, neither illness nor health, neither work nor rest. Here, what I have is what I want, and there’s simply and always my life as it is: perfect and whole.”
Yours in the faith we share,

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I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)

The Mar 20 worship service, "What We Merit":

PRACTICE OF THE WEEK: Whatever You Meet Is the Path

From Norman Fischer’s Training in Compassion, training #14 is: Whatever You Meet is the Path.

“The obstacle is the path,” as the Zen saying goes. That’s because everything is the path. Whatever happens, good or bad, make it part of your spiritual practice – which you do by noticing that it already is. We are always doing spiritual practice, whether we know it or not. You may think that you lost the thread of your practice, that you had been going along quite well and then life got busy and complicated and you lost track of what you were doing. Maybe you think you are very far from your best intentions. But this is just what you think. It's not what's going on.

Everything is practice, even the days or the weeks or the months or decades when you forgot to meditate and forgot to pay attention to your spiritual thoughts and exercises. Even then you're still practicing. You’re practicing whether you notice you are or not, but, if you can, notice you are.

To practice the slogan, "Whatever You Meet is the Path," keep it in mind, no matter what is going on, no matter how distracted you think you are. Particularly when something unexpected happens, remind yourself that this, too, is the path. You are on the path.

That negative chatter about how you’ve gone astray is part of the path. If you understand it that way it won’t bother you so much. And if it does, fine – being bothered is the path, too.

See the full post: Whatever You Meet Is the Path

Here it is, your...
#113: Mara the Founder

In Buddhism, Mara is the demon who appeared to Siddhartha Gautama after his awakening and tried to tempt him to keep his enlightenment entirely to himself. Mara is "the personification of the forces antagonistic to enlightenment" (Nyanaponika Thera). As Raven recognizes, the forces antagonistic to enlightenment -- and thus also antagonistic to practice -- are also necessary for practice/enlightenment.

Our guides on the great way include the passions and delusions, blowing smoke from their ears, as well as our calm insight.

Black Bear appeared one evening and said, "Tell me about Mara. I understand that he is the Great Destroyer."
Raven said, "The Great Founder."
Black Bear said, "That's what the Buddha Macaw is called."
Raven said, "Yes, but she never learned to blow smoke from her ears."
Psychotropic drugs
Utilize brain receptors
there for a reason.

Like that,
We are made to receive
our companions:
   ruby anger,
   ochre shame,
   blue-black fear,
   chartreuse envy,
   and all the rest.

Good medicine
In the right dose.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

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