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Lions Roar : March 2015
3. You’re going to be okay. Your mind does what it does without consulting you. If the turbulence is intense, you can just plod along with your practice. Not to worry. Actually the universe, the Dao, whatever we call it, manages our minds for us. We are its expression after all. 4. If you meditate and can’t stop wriggling, weeping, being angry, arguing with someone in your head, or being bored out of your gourd, don’t be a fascist. Don’t order your meditation to change; just be kind with yourself. You might notice that what your mind does is ridiculously, uproariously funny, or just touching. It’s like the chickens—you love it for some reason. See 1 again. 5. Your thoughts are not you. Neither do they belong to you. 6. Perhaps there’s not a problem. Maybe you are doing it right. 7. You do a practice by yourself, in some way that’s always true of practice, but in some way you share this practice with all beings. So if you’re lonely, try finding other beings to practice with some- times. We learn things from each other that we can’t learn alone. 8. No part of your life is too ignorant or too shameful for your practice to enter. You can let it into every corner. It’s not about improving yourself or making yourself wrong. 9. Not knowing is on your side. It’s reality. If you are clueless and don’t know, then you are still free. You are not dividing the world into friends and enemies. 10. Compassion springs like water from the earth; it just fills the heart. Reality is kinder than delusion. I’ve been talking about the ways practice is natural and even unconscious. Buddhist practice offers that understanding. There is a pattern deep in the world that practice draws out so we can see it and reproduce it and embody it. Because what is happening is kinder than our thoughts about it, then not cultivating beliefs, not knowing what to do, not knowing who you are, might be how it really is. A close friend had a stroke recently. She has some trouble finding words but seems as smart as ever. A reading of her neurology report, though, indicated that she has some deficits that she is unaware of because of her deficits. When this came up, we started laughing. Immediately I began to wonder what I’m unaware of—what I can’t see that I can’t see. This was at first alarming and then exhilarating. It seems to me that the great questions take us into that exciting territory—the territory we do not know about at all. That’s where practice is headed. Practice was something good that happened to me. I stumbled on it by myself, wandering in the bush, and I never could explain it very well. But it stains and dyes every part of life, and by degrees I learned to accept it gratefully. There’s no place in life where it doesn’t belong, no end to its territory, and even in hard times, with a practice, you can be pretty much happy. ♦ ARTWORKBYSEIKOMORNINGSTAR/WWW.ZENBRUSH.ETSY.COM SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2015 66