Everyday Spiritual Life

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My take on ‘Everyday Spiritual Life’ is the understanding that nothing exists in isolation – no person or event is an island to itself. This awareness helps in looking at people and situations with more compassion & understanding; such as why is the person being ‘mean’ to me as inherently he has same Buddha Nature as me so maybe he is/has gone through a tough time or maybe he is perceiving me as a threat. This viewpoint certainly does not advocate taking abuse from others as my compassion for others is incomplete unless it includes me, however it encourages us to have another look…make another effort. Chogyam Trungpa calls it being a ‘Warrior’ the fearlessness of facing unpleasant situations/people with an open heart and making a pledge to do so every single day. He says “Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world ti’ckle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.”
Thich says that he sees clouds when he reads a book as there would be no paper unless it rains – illustrating that everything exists in a dependant relationship to others. Living the spiritual life also brings to our observation that ‘Good’ & ‘Bad’ news are cyclical nature – the endless wheel of ‘Samsara’ a word in Buddhism; the never ending cycle of expectations and wanting, happiness & disappointments. The transformation lies in recognising that just like me everyone else goes through the same cycles of pleasant & unpleasant phases and that’s okay! we can deal with whatever arises in a calm accepting way and don’t have to force or superimpose positive thoughts on it as Pema Chodron says “Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not… maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine” When we look at our past and see that it was in negative situations where we grew…we developed resilience & persevered when we ‘just couldn’t go on’ reflecting upon it gives us self confidence and a genuine sense of empathy for others going through hard times. Sogyal Rinpoche says “To train in compassion is to know that all beings are the same and suffer in similar ways, to honour all those who suffer, and to know that you are neither separate from nor superior to anyone.”
Lastly, learning to accept Impermanence’ as a way of life as we can see for ourselves that nothing is permanent in nature – people, things, even our emotions are changing, yet our clinginess to events is what gives us grief. That is why meditation is the perfect practice for understanding the wisdom of insecurity as it gives a ‘third perspective’ to our thoughts, issues & feelings. Ajahn Chah the great Buddhist teacher when asked about coping with the uncertainty of life, especially the anxiety over losing people we love picked up a glass and said “Do you see this glass?” he said to them. “I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken.”
He paused a moment, allowing them to take in this remark, then continued. “When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ When you understand that this glass is already broken,” Ajahn Chah said, “every minute with it is precious.” – this is the essence of Buddhist & Zen teachings to live & enjoy the ‘Now’. Osho sums it up when he said “Past is history, future is a mystery, but today is a gift—that’s why it’s called ‘Present’ ” – Lotus Seed

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