Wherever you are and whoever you’re in a relationship with at this moment, is your spiritual practice. This is your doorway to connecting with life, letting go of loneliness and separation, becoming whole once again.
There Is Always Companionship Waiting
We don’t only practice when we’re sitting quietly by ourselves or with our selected community. Even if you’re with one person, your pet, your plant, the sky, that’s also your spiritual community. There is always companionship waiting, you are always in relationship.
We all long to be in relationships where it’s harmonious and there’s no opposition going on. No separation, division, or feeling torn apart by power struggles and demands. In our usual relationships we often are in opposition to everything and everyone. It’s easy to be disappointed, feel rejected or end up fighting for our life.
We can even be in opposition to life itself. Life can feel like a dangerous opponent, always coming after us! No one knows what’s coming next and everything can begin to feel like an assault. It becomes easy then to live in fear.
A rainy day can feel like an assault because today I needed the sun. I want this, I want that. And when I don’t get it, I feel like I’m being opposed, confronted and assaulted. Life is standing in opposition to me. I’m not excited to greet the next moment, to taste and enjoy it. Instead, I live my life creating more and more defenses and protections to get by.
Life Is On Your Side
However, this way of being is based upon confusion and delusion. It actually is the source of our suffering. All of our protections and defenses steal our happiness and well being away. It’s very hard to be compassionate and kind when we’re all tied up in knots.
But our belief that the world is cruel and dangerous is just a reflection of what’s happening within ourselves. We see things not as they are, but as we are. There is no difference between ourselves and the world. We are part of everyone we meet, including a beautiful person, who may not seem so beautiful when we’re living in a state of fear.
It’s not a question of blaming yourself for being afraid, but a matter of looking and exploring the basis of your life. Is there another way to greet our experience? How can we exit the cage of pain we’re locked in?
This exploration is precious and sacred. As we begin to experience what’s truly going on, this opens the doors of our cages. Many people are afraid to do this, they’re afraid to step out of their cage and let life back in. As the great poet, T.S. Eliot wrote, “Humankind Cannot Bear Very Much Reality.”
Deep down, however, this is untrue.
Humankind Longs For Reality
In truth, we can bear reality, we are reality. We long for and crave our authentic lives. Reality nourishes us. Even a moment of Wholeness and Oneness can do wonders. As our fear of life and our defenses begin to melt, an ease of being, joy and true aliveness appears. Even if we taste this for a moment, the deliciousness of it keeps drawing us back.
A Radical Practice
In a sense then, this is a radical practice because it says that your experience of life is up to you. Two people perceiving the same event can see it very differently. How you perceive the world is in your own hands.
I Am My Brother’s Keeper
Rather than retreating from our brothers and sisters, when we dare to put down our defenses, compassion comes rolling back in. Then it’s easy to see that I’m not only my brother or sister’s keeper, I am my brother and sister. They are me. As I experience that, I also taste the connectedness and deep peace that comes with it. Instead of living in a cage of fear I enter the vastness of life. Then I feel whole and complete.
Despite what we believe, Oneness, Openness, are not dangerous. Just the opposite. They are the safest most beautiful, welcoming place you could be. When we see the Oneness, it’s easy to realize that whoever appears is not coming in opposition. They’re just coming to show us something, to offer a new possibility. Can we receive them fully? Can we allow ourselves to discover the possibility they’re bringing to us?
Let’s try something different. Rather than opposing and defending against life, just experience it as it is and welcome it completely. All of a sudden you’ll get a delicious taste of the Oneness between you and all and won’t be able to go back to your old ways.
Try to just be here with whatever is coming. Don’t fight it off, hate or judge it. Then it will immediately change and become different. It will become friendly to you as well. You can even say, thank you for appearing, no matter what comes. Just mean it for one moment. Keep thanking everything and everyone for coming to you all day long and see what happens to your sense of fear and separation.
Oneness Is Always Waiting For You
It’s easy to enter Oneness, it’s always waiting there. Just let go of the defenses, fight and anguish. Little by little your life will open and you’ll discover true balance, joy and love.
Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, speaker and long time Zen practitioner. Her work focuses upon integrating the teachings of East and West and making them real in your everyday life. Brenda offers a weekly podcast, Zen Wisdom For Your Everyday Life, (Zen and Relationships). www.zenwisdomtoday.com. She also offers a program entitled Relationships As Spiritual Practice, (The Simple Laws of Love).