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Lions Roar : January 2013
THESE DAYS I AM STRUCK BY the speed of life. As we get speedier, we do things in half steps. Therefore, the practice of wholehearted engagement is important. How can we be steady and complete, and what kind of wisdom does that bring? In Shambhala warriorship we practice being on the spot: we do things precisely and thoroughly. In meditation, our mind and body are joined and we access and protect our wisdom mind by being present. Then we extend our training into other aspects of our life. Bravery is the key instruction in the Shambhala teachings. This is why these teachings use the image of a warrior: when confronted by great challenges, warriors rise to the occasion. When cowards are confronted by difficulties, they withdraw. The challenge of being brave points to one specific instruction—that we stop cowering from our basic goodness. To be brave is to actualize our nature as an offering to others. In paying attention to the details of our daily lives in relation to each other and the environment, we proclaim our worthiness to be alive and to inhabit this planet. We empower our relation- ships with presence and appreciation, because when we see the goodness in ourselves, we recognize it in others. This form of warriorship builds and creates; it does not destroy. Being brave enough to fully embrace our humanity is how we will accom- plish good things. The process of engaging life with bravery has an outer level, an inner level, and a secret level. In terms of the outer level, fifty per- cent of it is being there, showing up. Whether it is showing up on the meditation cushion, showing up at work, or showing up in a friendship, relationship, or family, how we show up is important. The most important element is care—having respect for what we are doing. Without respect for our own mind, we are not fully engaged, and even the act of meditating becomes hollow. When we pay attention to what we are doing, we naturally care. Because of all the distractions and trauma in the world these days, it is getting harder and harder to show up for the present moment and engage in our lives. Our kindness and care are on the wane. Our culture tends to lull us into a sense of false secu- rity: we think that somehow life is going to get easier. It is like the idea of retirement—we work hard and then there is a lull when we can flop and let everything hang. The path of engagement does not get easier, and there is no retirement. But when we surrender to the reality that we have to keep showing up to make progress—and that being present takes effort, discipline, and dedication—then we discover a sense of delight. In the language of Shambhala warriorship, this is called We Need to Be Warriors SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE is the spiritual leader of Shambhala, an international network of meditation and retreat centers. His most recent book is Running with the Mind of Meditation. PHOTOBYDIANACHURCH The world needs people who are wholeheartedly engaged with life, says SAKYONG MIPHAM. That takes bravery. SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2013 15