To go back to the Reality of
Life in the midst of this Reality Is Our Practice
These days we are confronted with so many dreams, possibilities, questions, illusions and points of view. We often dismiss or condemn those who do not agree with us. Relationships are severed and well being threatened.
Friends turn into opponents and we struggle with how to change other people’s minds? How can we convince others that we are Right and they are Wrong? Of course this is an endless, universal struggle that has gone on throughout the centuries. The more people who think as we do, the more secure we feel, the stronger, smarter, more popular we become. The battle goes on forever. Entire lives are devoted to this, making sure they’re right and others are wrong.
In the practice of Zen we take a different path. Rather than cling to the idea that we are right and others wrong, rather than convince others or change their minds, we stop and take a look at Reality itself. What is it? Is part of it right and the other part wrong?
We return to the ever-shifting landscape of ideas, feelings and images that appear and disappear in our minds. One minute we feel this way, another moment that. One day we have positive thoughts, and other days doubt or indecision accost us. Our experience of life, ourselves and others is constantly shifting. The work of Zen practice is not to grab onto one part of Reality and reject the next. It’s not to judge our experience, hate it or reject it. The deep practice of zazen is to “Hold the whole world in the palm of our hand” (Sassaki Roshi).
As we practice we become fully aware of our experience, see it for what it is, and then take the next step that is right before our eyes. Are actions are based upon what is here right now, what is called for or offered. Our actions are not based upon fixed ideas that block the moment, the person and the true need from us. Instead, we return to Reality and let it be as it is.
The great instruction to let Reality be reality is daring, courageous and startling really. In order to do so, first we recognize we have no idea about what Reality truly is, or what is happening right here and now. How can an idea encompass the great play of phenomena we are faced with? Instead, we return over and over to what we can know, our experience, this moment, this breath. We honor whatever is happening and whatever is along our way. We do not change, distort or reject it. Action based upon our true experience is always constructive and relevant to what is truly needed. Try for yourself and see.
Brenda Eshin Shoshanna
Join us on The Podcast each week. I take a new look at daily issues and problems. When looked at from the Zen point of view, these problems turn into koans. Not only do we then find unexpected solutions, but become able to thoroughly enjoy our lives. And our problems. If you click the link it will take you to our weekly podcast, ZEN WISDOM FOR YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE. www.zenwisdomtoday.com/