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Lions Roar : March 2014
little breaks in the intimacy: a headache; a cranky boss or coworker; a hangover; the arising of resentments and comparisons and craving ideas in our mind that create anxiety, frustration, and boredom. What might we do at such a time? Again, the strategy is to include everything, to turn toward, not away from, the conditions that are emerging. Take a breath. Check your body and mind, and look directly at the obstructions. What is it that is pulling you away from this very moment? The “second moons” trip us up. What are we to do? Daowu shakes his broom, saying, “No! Right here in what I am doing right now is everything: me, broom, floor, all of life is right here, flowing around me.” The garbage worker grabs the next bundle of trash. Questions and Answers Question: It seems like a lot of things that are impediments to intimacy with our work are things that our society tells us are good. Like, you should make money, but thinking about making money can be an impediment to intimacy with our work. Or you should know what you’re doing, but knowing what you’re doing can be an impediment. Or you should work as hard as you can, or you should relax and take it easy. It seems like these can all be impediments to being intimate with our work. Roshi: Yes. Buddhism often refers to the openings to insight as “gates.” The gate can swing in two directions, so with something we usually consider a vice, maybe we just need to turn it another way. We can just turn something that keeps us “out” and open it as a way “in.” Sometimes it’s just our language. “Working too hard” is different from “complete effort,” and “slacking off ” is very different from “being at ease in our work.” We get so caught up in language that it can condition us. Question: There are these tasks that I hate, and I find it’s really hard to remember that once I’m doing whatever it is, it’s fine. For example, I hate doing the laundry. It’s so hard for me to remember that once I’m doing the laundry, it’s not a problem. Roshi: Yes, because it’s not doing the laundry anymore; it’s more like putting things into the washer and taking them out and folding them. That’s very different from doing the laundry. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2014 57