Friday, February 28, 2014

Exercise In Your

Exercise in your search as much discernment as you can; the spiritual path demands more intelligence, more sober understanding, more subtle powers of discrimination than any other discipline, because the highest truth is at stake. Use your common sense at every moment. Come to the path as humorously aware as possible of the baggage you will be bringing with you: your lacks, fantasies, failings, and projections. Blend, with a soaring awareness of what your true nature might be, a down-to-earth and level-headed humility, and a clear appreciation of where you are on your spiritual journey and what still remains to be understood and accomplished.

- Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

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Do you not know yet? The answers you have been seeking litter your life like fallen leaves. I promise you that if you have asked a question, if you have tried to understand your life then at some point along the way, at hundreds of points along the way the answer has been given to you. It is with you now: at your feet, in your hands, on the nightstand, in the kitchen, the backyard, on the roof, at the end of block, half a world away. It is everpresent everywhere. We refuse to see it though because it is plain and ordinary and blends in; we cannot see it because our eyes are blind to it, our ears dumb, our hearts silent. We want answers with a capital "A" motherfucker and all of the answers are lowercase. There is no Grand Unifying Theory for the meaning of life. You are the meaning. You get to find out what it means to be you in this place and at this time. That's the meaning. How that is discovered and expressed, well, that is where things explode into the limitless forms of life.

You continue to look for a match to light the fuse when everything is already lit.

Look. Right now and you will see this is so: you are alive. That is the answer.

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The paths we take must be our own. Tibetan Buddhism places a great emphasis on being a disciple, on following a master and learning that through a true master all the Buddhas speak. It rankles me. I do not want to be a disciple of any man. I will not follow. I will search on my own. This is a great divergence between the East and West. But it is not nearly so neat and clean as that. Those are false dichotomies.

Here is what is: when you find a teacher or a master he or she is simply the outward expression of your own inner desire to learn. You must have a discipline in order to focus your energy and effort, otherwise it is all scattershot and nothing sustains you. You know this to be true. Think about when you have poured your energy into a project, or goal and accomplished it. There were no distractions possible because you were focused and present and acting out of a well of strength and compassion for yourself. Now think about all the times you've half-assed it and the half-assed results that came. So, we can agree that discipline, a vow you make to yourself to practice and become skilled at any endeavor, is the groundfloor of unfucking your life. We can also agree that the teachers we encounter, the ones who make our lives uneasy at first, are there because there is something that rhymes between us, and they help us to draw out of ourselves our true nature.

But do not for one second think this is all holy roller bullshit. Quite the opposite. It is earthy, salty, flecked with anger and blood and disappointment and laughter and solace and love and sex and broken bones and all that we are heir to. And that, my beloveds, is what is truly holy.

The highest truth is our common ground. The highest truth, the most sacred thing is that PB & J in your hand. It is being here, right now, as you are, where you stand. Yeah, man, you've got baggage - who the fuck don't - and you've been told that baggage is your doom. Yes and no. Yes, if you point to it endlessly and beat your breast crying mea cupla, mea culpa. No, if you recognize it as simply the cost of the journey: the cuts, bruises and scars that are a necessary part of being alive.

Look, there is more to do. You fuck yourself when you think you've done it all or that you are incapable of doing anything. There is more to do, more to see, more to understand, more to accomplish and it will always be so. Life is not interested in stasis, but in transformation and there is no end to the transformations you are capable of - both within the brackets of your life and outside of it as well. Whitman thought his body would make a fine manure in which to grow flowers or melons. Buddhists believe we live again and again. Who is to say there is a difference between them?

Your job, my friend, my fucked fucker, is to pray to your higher self that you may keep your feet on the ground and laugh and cry and fuck and shit and fart and make breakfast for your family and kiss babies' feet with gentle raspberries and feed the hungry and fight the power and forgive trespasses and plant trees and grow food and get drunk and tell your father you forgive him and tell your brother you love him and tell your sister you have her back and mow your neighbors' yard for the hell of it and punch an asshole in the nose and build up a life well lived, drained to its lees as an offering to the fire inside you. The spark of life is made of the same things as stars, is born from stars and is everpresent everywhere.

Lift a rock. Split a stick and you will see.

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