It’s hard to be a human being. Even if you live a life of privilege and luxury, your are still subject to aging, illness, and death. It can all feel pretty overwhelming. Our hearts yearn for happiness, but life forces to create survival strategies to protect ourselves from all the suffering. One common defense is to wall off our hearts from further pain. We become numb and withdrawn. Or we become sad and depressed, or anxious and fearful, or angry and hostile.
When we first learn about Buddhist practice, we may view it as just another strategy- a way to escape our distress. But the real promise of practice is not to protect us from further harm. It invites us to discover that we can learn to face everything that arises as an example of the awakened heart. Once we can take the risk to meet our lives directly, we can also learn to make a bigger mental and emotional space around whatever is causing us pain.
I have discovered that the more I practice, the more layers of my endlessly perfected, elaborate self-construction fall away. Doing this practice of meeting everything as an example of the awakened heart means risking more and more tenderness. but as painful as it is to meet suffering directly, it’s also a relief. There is more spaciousness, more freedom to feel the wondrous aliveness of being. There is more energy available to do what must be done to heal the world.
~Melissa Myozen Blacker
these ideas around tranquility and insight and illumination leave us questioning…..am I enough? can I gather closer in?
inquiry for today~ what is your refuge? how will you check in without checking out?
The midst of reality is very simple and very soft. Even hatred is simple if you don’t fight it. If you try to fight hatred, it becomes a monster. But if you deal with your hatred straightforwardly, you can use hatred as an opportunity to deepen life, or to express the depth of your life. The first thing you have to do is to stand up straight, right in the middle of your life. This is not so easy. It’s not easy because it’s too simple. There’s nothing to want, nothing to gain, nothing to achieve as a result.
Right acceptance is to accept yourself as you really are, without comparing yourself to others. If you are a violet, be patient and wait for the violet’s life force to bloom. But others may want you to bloom in a particular way. Maybe they will tell you to bloom not as a violet but as a rose. But encouragement is not always good for you. Sometimes it makes you nervous, because it causes you to see the world dualistically.
Which will I be, a violet or a rose? Before you compare yourself, you are already you. Stand up straight, right in the vastness of your original existence, and let the flower of your life-force bloom as you really are.
~Dainin Katagiri Roshi