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Lions Roar : May 2017
the inevitable deconstructions, dislocations, and reconfigurations. But they’re techniques, not themselves the goal. It won’t help to simply substitute the routines of self-discipline for the routines of self-absorption if you’re not addressing the fundamental question: Who is this self that keeps inventing routines? With a little luck, you’ll discover that you don’t have a self, and it’s vast. The wide world is tolling. With meditation you come to hear it all the time, and then you realize that the bell is ringing inside your own chest. And it is ringing inside the chest of everyone and everything you encounter, from earthworms to stars. It is calling you home, home to your- self, home to your fellow beings, home to the vastness—and that’s what meditation is for. JOAN SUTHERLAND is a retired teacher in the Zen koan tradition. She is the author of Acequias & Gates and The Awakened Heart: A Commentary on the Vimalakirti Sutra. it when you find the deepest home you’ve ever known. That’s pretty wonderful, but even that isn’t the goal of medita- tion. The goal is to use the fruits that ripen in the orchards of that deep home—ease, perceptiveness, warmheartedness, generosity, courage—in the service of the vast and wide world. The world is always tolling its bell for you, and you rise from your meditation seat to respond. Eventually you find that standing up doesn’t break the meditation; it just changes its shape. It becomes the way that home accompanies you as you meet the moments of your day. People often come to meditation with an aspiration to suffer less, or to wake up. You’re asking for a kind of grace, and it’s usually difficult to muscle your way into grace. Better to prepare for it by approaching your heart–mind with warmth and curi- osity. If you do, the preparation might start to feel like the thing you’re preparing for, transforming it from future goal to some- thing that blesses your life right now. Still, preparing for grace can be a demanding process. Medita- tion’s time-tested techniques will guide and support you through PHOTOBYA.JESSEJIRYUDAVISPHOTOBYJENNIFERESPERANZA