Are you looking for an awareness so deep and powerful that your frustration and difficulties with life vanish in the presence of your understanding and wisdom? Are you not looking for a ticket out of the messiness of life? if you think of freedom as a state, you are in effect looking for a kind of heaven. Instead, think of freedom as a way of experiencing life itself- a continuous flow in which you meet what arises in your experience, open to it, do what needs to be done to the best of your ability and then receive the result. And you do this over and over again. It is the way you engage life. Life is tough, but when you see and accept what is actually happening, even if it is very difficult or painful, mind and body relax. There is an exquisite quality that comes from just experiencing what arises, completely, with no separation between awareness and experience. What is freedom? It is nothing more, and nothing less, than life lived awake. Do not edit your experience of life. Does this practice lead to happiness? Not at all; but it does help you to understand the suffering and the struggles of others. Whatever ups and downs and joys and pains they encounter, you can be present with them because you know life is not perfect and you do not expect it to be. As my teacher once said, ‘If you could really take away the suffering of everyone in the world, taking all of it into you with a single breath, would you hesitate?’…….Ken McLeod
these little glimpses of thresholds between worlds vanish in a moment of forgetting…..we argue with ourselves, with destiny, with the wholeness that waits so patiently for us……curiosity seeks for us, reminding us to serve our own hearts……from there, hearts multiply…..
When we are willing to be intimate with what actually is here now, to look directly at all of our experience, we might recognize that this is our life, however different from our thoughts and ideas about it. It is as if we hunker down and actually get very real, recognizing that our thoughts of gaining and losing, good and bad, happy and sad, are what distance us from ourselves. When we breathe in fully and pause, we clear a space in our mind without judgment. If we are willing to hang in with the practice over and over again, noticing how our thoughts of gaining or losing distance us from ourselves and from what is, we open ourselves to a whole new reality. We came into intimacy with everything; we enter a world of joy that is so close, to pervasive, that we are surprised we haven’t been aware of its presence all along. Once Dongshan was asked, ‘What is the deepest truth? What is the wisdom that liberates?’ His response was, ‘I am always close to this.’ It is the closeness itself- the intimacy with what is here with us now- that is the truth that liberates us. Imagine being so close to your experience of life!………Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara
Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal. Ryokan returned and caught him. ‘You may have come a long way to visit me,’ he told the prowler, ‘and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.’ The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away. Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. ‘Poor fellow,’ he mused, ‘I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.’……unbounded spirit