"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about progressively opening your heart and calming your mind enough to engage Life directly, to be more fully Present in a kind, clear, and helpful way."

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call! Musings on Life and Practice by a Long-time Student of Meditation.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Once Again: Why Bother?

"The study of the Buddha Way is to study the self.  To know the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things."
---Dogen Zenji, from the Genjokoan (Actualizing the Fundamental Point)

"Enlightenment is ego's ultimate disappointment."
---Chogyam Trungpa

More than ever, the world today needs a certain type of bravery.  As we go careening through the cosmos in what appears to be a helter skelter, mad dash toward our self-destruction as a species, the courage to sit still and examine the nature of our hearts and minds on a regular basis is, I think, crucial.  The actual commitment to do just that is no mean feat.  It's a rare and precious thing.

One of the stated intentions of most people who have wandered into MMM in the past 18 months has been to develop a regular meditation practice of their own.  Most, if not all,  had been exposed to meditation before, yet it hadn't "stuck".  Although there had been an intuitive draw to the exploration of Practice, and meditation did seem to make life work a bit better at that point, those special cushions ended up in closets and life rolled on.

I can relate, of course.  My zafu had gathered dust for months at a time over the past four decades as I bumbled and staggered ahead through my life.  Yet, inexorably-- and ultimately inexplicably--I found myself again drawn to Sit Still on a regular basis, again and again.  I haven't missed more than a handful of days in the past few years.  It can be the most interesting and wonderful, or the most confusing and disturbing,  part of my day!  At this point, it seems that the Practice is doing me as much as I'm doing it. 

One of the notions that propelled me to start MMM a year and a half ago was that I could help create a setting that would support others in the development of Practice.  For the most part I think that what has emerged does that to some extent.  Yet, it is clear that what one of my favorite MMM regulars characterized as "The Dilemma of Discipline" last week,  is a fundamental challenge along the path of Practice for us all.   

She and I just sort of bounced off of each other that day, getting hung up on debating external structures during the recent period of transition, rather than focusing on the central nature of commitment in the development of the Practice.  More than anything, it seems to me that commitment really is the Heart of the Matter. 

As we did back in June, it might be time for the Circle to again look at the essential question: "Why Bother?"--and compare notes on what we've found challenging and what we've found helpful in cultivating our practices.

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