‘You have to go further. You have to demonstrate the answer. You have to embody the answer. You have to show the Zen master how you live fully in the moment. You have to manifest the answer in your life – in your everyday relationships, in the market-place, at work, as well as in the temple and meditation hall.’
This was Bernie Glassman’s answer to the question, ‘How to live fully?’. Zen is about how we live in every moment. It’s not actually that special, it’s not fanciful and full of incense burning and robes wafting. It’s simplicity in action. A paring back of the non-essential, in order to experience each moment fully. The ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. Meditation and yoga and all these things, are useless if we leave the mat, or the chair, and go about being snooty, mean and judgy. I have heard too many times people diss techniques or practices different to their own, stating their way has more purity, has more integrity, is more this and that.
My friend shared with me a story from when she was in New York and was at a meditation meeting. Everyone was feeling very proud of themselves for being ‘meditators’ and one-upping each other on their practice. Comments like ‘oh wow, can’t believe you use a timer, I let that go ages ago’ and ‘oh I never skip a meditation, neither should you’ and ’thank God you found this practice, the others aren’t as good’ were being tossed around. Kind of defeats the purpose of engaging with it in the first place doesn’t it? If we use spiritual practices as a hierarchal ladder to climb, a rung to hang off and look below us and down upon everyone else? I’ve been there, a snot about my lineage and practice, but thank God the universe essentially beat that elitism out of me with humiliating and humbling experiences!
We want to just practice integrating all these practices into life, not just doing them for the sake of feeling special. So that when we cut a carrot, go to the toilet, are stuck in traffic, are at a lengthy school pick up, run late for a meeting, are with our lovers, or our children, we are embodying presence. It’s the real reason we do all the self-development/spiritual stuff – it’s not to feel better than anyone else, it’s to feel just like everyone else. It’s to understand ourselves so we can be compassionate to others. To feel more connected to ourselves and our hearts, and then move through every single moment with more love.
Let’s bring LOVE back to the core of all our practices, not just box tick through them. Let’s embody them, let no moment be untouched by our being fully present, and not reserve ‘being spiritual’ to Sunday’s when we #selfcare and tell everyone about it, to the meditation hall and the yoga studio…
Written with a laugh and love,