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Sep 16, 2023
The sign in the Zendo reads "We come here to be nothing special."
There is a kind of discipline that is not the result of external punishment or control. I say this because I feel that the way I undertake my life is quite disciplined and people sometimes seem to find that excessive or dislike the term or completely misinterpret my behavior. Personally, I find it truly difficult, perhaps impossible to accomplish creative tasks without it. For many reasons, I do not have what I call, the privilege of chaos. I must plan, I must choose and I must accept.
This is not to say that everything is entirely ordered all the time. There is quite a bit of going with the flow. But I would say my disciplined approach creates a balanced relationship with that flow which allows for things to move forward. Like a running stream.
Karma means action. It is what we do. What we do is largely a result of our state of mind relative to the condition. Forces outside our control will always be in affect. I do not subscribe to imagining that reality doesn’t exist. I do experience that there is some relativity to our relationship with reality. And that is where focus can make a significant difference.
Love is action. While we experience the emotion of love, the expression is in actions. In how we treat ourselves and others. In how we respect or disrespect life itself.
It’s become a common term these days in the United States. In the western education system, the impression I got is, if you know the word exists and can state the definition, people think you know what it is.
This is not so in the Buddhist system. The information is part of understanding but it is only meaningful in actual practice and lived experience. To really know something, you basically have to prove it. Talking like you know is very limited “proof”.
Mindfulness is not an idea, it is a practice. So, to understand mindfulness, you have to practice it. Telling people to be mindful is a good reminder, but it is not very meaningful if there is no action. Mindfulness is the result of action not thought.
I went looking for another life. I thought maybe I could have one. Why not, right? Go somewhere, do something, meet people, be whoever I chose to be. Well. There are limits to that. And the thing is, no one I could imagine being is actually as interesting as who I actually am.
My life has been quite challenging and quite painful. I needed to chart my own path and I did. But now as things have happened I see that I cannot be any other than who I actually am, which is largely what has actually happened. And here we are again, action. Karma.
It’s quite determinate.
So we are what we do. I don’t mean a title. I mean the collective action of our entire lives. The parents and community we are born to, our childhood, all our experiences which can include professional identities but not at all exclusive to that. All of this is who we are. There is no getting away from that.
But there is going very deeply into that. So deeply into yourself, into who you are, that you find that while you are all of this action, you are what you do, there is a state of being that is where all this doing begins. And with a certain kind of discipline, some might even call it self respect, this state of being can be cultivated and developed. And so even though all your Karma still exists, your relationship with it, your relationship with yourself, changes.
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