Daily Life

Welcome to WEEK TEN of Beyond Self 2012 — an informal spiritual retreat in SunnyRoomStudio (September to December).  Before I truly understood the point (and purpose) of a “spiritual practice,” I wondered about finding the time for yet another important daily project.  And I’m sure many of you have also had this concern at some point.  Fortunately, it is absolutely nothing to worry about because everything we do each day, from the mundane to the complicated, is an opportunity to practice spiritual awareness.  To truly become that which you aspire to.  To practice compassion.  To become the “space” for whatever is occurring.  To practice nonresistance.  To extend your gaze beyond self.  To practice mindfulness.  To practice meditation (consider walking meditation when you can’t “sit” in a quiet spot).  To stay present during difficult moments, not allowing ego or an untamed mind to draw you in.  To enjoy the fruits of not-knowing.  To appreciate the inter-connectedness of everything.  And so on.

One has to reach to the absolute state of awareness: that is Zen.
You cannot do it every morning for a few minutes or for
half an hour and then forget all about it. It has to become like
your heartbeat. You have to sit in it, you have to walk in it.
Yes, you have even to sleep in it.

WEEK TEN: Beyond Self 2012

Week One: Extend Your Gaze
Week Two: Always Evaluating
Week Three: Being Brevity
Week Four: Entanglement
Week Five: Beyond Attachment
Week Six: Eternal Nature
Week Seven: If Only
Week Eight: Nonresistance
Week Nine: Caught Up

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on
our usual everyday routine.

Many of you have heard of Jack Kornfield.  He has taught meditation worldwide since 1974 and holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.  The author of numerous books, one I can personally recommend is: A Path With Heart — A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life.  Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in Burma, India, and Thailand.  He is also a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California.

In this book he has a section called “Daily Life as Meditation.”

As you might surmise, he writes about the realities of a spiritual practice in the midst of whatever is occurring in our lives.  Relationships.  Careers.  Difficulties.  Essentially, Kornfield points out that whether you are meditating as part of a formal retreat or dealing with family members, the challenge is the same.  In fact, it’s my guess that a formal retreat might be quite predictable (in terms of events, planning, expectations), when daily life is usually anything but that.

Someone gets ill.  Something breaks.  Loss happens.  Schedules shift without warning.  Priorities burst at the seams.  Nature delivers a hurricane, a blizzard, a drought.  A pet becomes ill or dies.  The project we’d worked on for years is lost in the shuffle.  Our best friend moves far away.  If you’re waiting for a spiritual catalyst, you’ll probably find it in the next 24 hours … or the next 10 minutes.

So thinking we don’t have time for a spiritual practice doesn’t really make sense, does it?  The fullness of life, regardless of context, will always provide plenty of spiritual challenge.  The key, of course, is to avoid the old “if only” game … whereby we try to convince ourselves our practice would go better “if only.”

We must remember that the world’s current problems are fundamentally a spiritual crisis, created by limited vision of human beings–a loss of a sense of connection to one another, a loss of community, and most deeply a loss of connection to our spiritual values.  ~ Jack Kornfield

So this week you might see how you can align your spiritual goals, your practice, with “what is,” as opposed to dreaming about a wonderful retreat halfway across the globe.  There is a place for that, I would imagine, but daily life affords all the opportunity you will ever need to evolve spiritually.

For Zen, man is the goal; man is the end unto himself. God is not something above humanity, God is something hidden within humanity. Man is carrying God in himself as a potentiality. ~ Osho

  • We are all busy.  But therein we must find our spiritual practice.  Remember, the obstacle is always the path.  How will you bring this reality into your daily life this week?

We discovered this tree recently … with small gourds tied to its bare branches.  Not exactly what you might expect to see, right?

What is the spiritual lesson here?  What is the Zen-like message?

Sitting in meditation is difficult and acting in meditation is equally difficult.  ~Jack Kornfield

Blog by DazyDayWriter @ work in SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved.

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