The very best teaching my first Zen teacher gave me was: No matter what is happening and, no matter if it’s happening “on the inside” or “on the outside”, first and foremost, be aware of what’s happening and do your best to relax. Fear might be happening, be aware of fear and relax. If joy is happening, know joy and relax. If a flat tire is happening, be aware of that and relax. Another way to say this is: be aware of what’s happening, notice, and let go of any drama. Simply work with what’s happening as calmly as possible.
Okay, I love the point, so I borrowed the “Buddhism Schmuddhism,” thing from Lama Surya Das. His point? The point? Don’t bother becoming a Buddhist, or becoming anything at all, for that matter. Just wake up to the way things are now, to the way you are now. Wake up to your life. Grow your inner goodness. Be the wide open knowing at your center. Fall in love with and share your gifts. Live who you truly are. Not tomorrow, not last week, live right now.
We just entered our first 6-week practice period here at Sweeping Heart Zen. Before we started the period, people who formally entered this time of invigorated practice submitted what’s called a Practice Period Intention Form. One questions on the form asks, “What theme or issue do you intend to focus on during this Practice Period?” I intend to deeply rest and relax in awareness.