Stop searching for phrases and chasing after words.
Take the backward step and turn the light inward.
Your body-mind of itself will drop
off and your original face will appear.
If you want to attain just this,
immediately practice just this.
- Dogen (1200-1253)
Monk In The World
To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Long Walk for The Monk In The World
I went on a long walk this morning. The humidity was cleansing. The water exited my body drip by drip. It's almost a spiritual experience to feel the hydration leaving your body in that way. Long walks have always been somewhat spiritual for me anyway. It was on a very long ten mile walk when I realized I was going to be a monk in the world. Don't ask me to explain that experience. I can only tell you that it was real for me and my life continues to be shaped by that experience. The experience has not be so much about constructing this life but more about the deconstruction of this life. That is hard to explain in this short post but it is true. A constant dismantling of the self in order to discover the SELF, as it is called in the Christian contemplative tradition and "dropping body and mind" in the Zen Buddhist tradition. I realized early on that this deconstruction could not take place without some kind of daily spiritual practice. And so I have seen that practice go from centering prayer to Zazen. Evolving into Zazen was just another step of deconstruction. Stripping away concepts, stripping away belief systems, stripping away conditioning and trying as best I can to let life be what it is and responding to what is with compassion and loving kindness on a good day and having the grace to forgive myself on those days that are not so good.
So this is who I am. I feel lonely sometimes. I feel misunderstood sometimes. But my life has a deep sense of abiding joy and peace. And I am basically a happy person.
It's a long walk but the only thing that really matters is the very next step because that is where my life will be.