Authority, Trust, Devotion

Posted on 09. Mar, 2010 by in Blog

“The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”

– Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

Awakening is source, essence, and raison d’être of Dharma. Sitting meditation, in group or alone, presumes a certain relationship to the possibility of awakening, and that relationship can definitely develop and deepen through time, practice, and life itself. In this short article, I hope to offer a fresh look at the simple act of sitting, breathing, and being aware.

Authority

Placing the cushion or chair in a spot, sitting on it every day for 20 minutes or more, and maintaining a discipline through ups and downs of disposition, health, and circumstances, we generate a momentum of heartiness. Such genuine commitment stems from inner authority. Siddhartha Gautama sat like this on the night before his awakening, and touched the ground, bringing forth his unshakeable mind.

 

We sit because awakening is a matter of choice, not of birth or fate. Awakening has been repeatedly confirmed, therefore it is true. Being true, it makes everything else meaningful, while bestowing upon us strength and resolution to reach beyond personal limitations, like an inner compass pointing the way to freedom from dispensable suffering. Such is the authority inherent in taking the seat.

Trust

The basis of trust is the method of meditation itself. We sit without fidgeting, confident we can handle the challenges presented by states of body and mind, as they arise, continue, or simply pass. By trusting the method we allow ourselves to relax and thus become more sensitive to the more subtle phenomena. This new sensitivity is a kind of heightened perception, essential for acquiring direct knowledge of impermanence.

Trusting the method gradually becomes a source of self-confidence and fearlessness. This isn’t courage based on prowess or ingenuity, but instead a patient acceptance of an increasingly evident, uncontrived, basic state of openness, usually referred to as buddha-nature. Off the cushion, this trust becomes the basis for establishing authentic relationships, essential in these times of viral cynicism.

Devotion

Purpose of one’s life isn’t exhausted with realization, even though the fundamental form of projection and seeking is brought to an end. The discovery of radical freedom is in itself blissful and empowering, and depending on one’s level of consciousness such release in itself may yield unpredictable results. Hopefully meditation is supplemented with other essential types of training and development, traditional and contemporary, in which case our general orientation will be one of altruistic service and love in action. Service and love will flow into the conduit of our circumstances, relationships, and habits. Don’t fall for idealistic expectations. Instead, look for improvement in common doings, find inspiration in humble environments. Yet make your responsiveness audacious, and your devotion defiant. Let your meditation give birth to something worth living and loving.

 In conclusion

Speaking in terms of correlations, authority relates to dignified posture and dignifying deportment, trust relates to steady breath and clear utterance, while devotion relates to uncontrived awareness and boundless imagination. These are encountered in sitting, though not confined to any particular situation, condition or form whatsoever. Therefore, once we learn how to sit properly, our everyday activities will present precious opportunities for compassionate action. Discontinuing our unwitting support to the suffering in others, sometimes referred to as ‘idiot compassion’, we also put an end to self-indulgence. Removing the causes of dispensable suffering in ourselves, we offer great service to the world. Since you are one, your life is a seamless continuity. Since you are not someone else, only you can do it.

 

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