Showing posts from December, 2013

Why I'll Never Compile A Bucket List

Okay, it looks like my previous post was not the final one of 2013 after all…
Happy New Year, everyone! Have you compiled your respective lists of New Year’s resolutions? Yeah, I know, not everyone is a fan of such endeavors. However, to the extent that they help us clarify and actualize the purest of our intentions, then I think they can be a good thing. A bucket list, on the other hand, is something that I’ll never compile. Why not? I am so glad you asked that question! Let me begin with what I find appealing about resolutions.
Resolutions tend to act as guideposts in the back of our minds, subconsciously or unconsciously shaping our outward behavior: toward eating or living more healthfully, for instance, toward acting with greater patience or mindfulness, perhaps, toward spending more time with friends and family or engaged in spiritual practice, etc. Sure, they can veer towards end goals from time to time, such as when we vow to lose ten pounds, or quit smoking, or find a new jo…

The Sublime and the Profane..., Enlightenment and Shit (Part 2 of 2)

Readers of Part 1 might find it interesting as they read on that my unconscious mind was able to construct a far more refined metaphor for practice than the “sitting with a belly full of crap” one that my conscious mind was able to come up with. As you may recall, “sitting with a belly full of crap” refers to the fact that so much of our lives is comprised of situations and circumstances that we would just as soon flush away, if only we could. However, as stated in Part 1: “We can change our mind, we can even change our behavior; but the repercussions of our past mental and physical activity continue until such karma has been exhausted.” And so our practice becomes one of working with and working through our residual negative karma, all the while trying to refrain from creating such negativity anew.
I had a dream one night during sesshin. It began with me flying over a very picturesque city – with many lakes and streams, beautiful buildings and walkways, lush foliage and green spaces…

The Sublime and the Profane..., Enlightenment and Shit (Part 1 of 2)

Siddhartha Gautama, after a long and (up until then) unsatisfying quest for ultimate wisdom, is said to have vowed to remain seated under the bodhi tree until either awakening to the true nature of reality or passing away. In between the time of that vow and the time of his awakening, Siddhartha is said to have been visited by many “demons” – demons that we modern contemplatives might best understand as the darker manifestations of Siddhartha Gautama’s mind. As the days and nights progressed these distractions became more and more intense, culminating, it is said, in the future Buddha facing one final but monumental doubt: What right did he have to such profound wisdom? It is said that Siddhartha Gautama then reached down to touch the earth, and as the morning star rose in the sky he realized enlightenment, he became Buddha – Awakened One. Much can be read into the symbolism of touching the earth, but I’m inclined to view it in terms of Siddhartha Gautama having recognized that his c…