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Lions Roar : May 2018
I know that changing what we do— breaking out of unsatisfying relation- ships or leaving jobs that don’t value our gifts—can also be an important life task, but when it’s our only option, we’re probably limiting our choices. Wherever you go, there you are, so finally, we’re deciding if where we are is a good place to work on our problems, to develop new skills or tools, or “to have the right kind of trouble.” Finding the space where you can learn and grow, entering the space where you can belong rather than just fit in means that your life can go forward. You are bringing the sacred alive. Baking bread may seem like it’s too much work, but as one of my students once shared, “Baking bread seemed like a way to re-own my life from corporate America.” CONNECTING WHAT IS INSIDE with what is outside, the inner world with the outer one, is the work of a lifetime, work that is often carried on deep beneath the surface of a world of surfaces. In outer reality, where images loudly shout their self-importance and claim undue amounts of attention, where will you choose to put your attention? On crafting your image? Or working with the ingredients you’re given, doing what you came here to do? Suzuki Roshi would ask us to discover, “What is your inmost request?” Still I continue to study how to awaken ears to hear what is most intimate, to listen to the oceanic silence within. That I may follow that innermost unspoken resolve. That I may give it voice. Giving voice to our inmost request is pivotal for giving it life. Then we can make it real for all the world to see. Then the world comes for- ward to meet your inner vow. Over the years, I have found one inmost request after another—and often my practice has been to work on these intentions in the kitchen: I want to learn how to bake bread and teach others how. I want to breathe easy. I want to feel simply and reliably okay about being here, being at home here. Whether or not I have problems or difficulties. I wish for intimate connection with others, with food, with the work at hand. I long to sense what is sacred, calm, clear, and precious. I want to stand my ground. Speak my truth. I will learn to love myself, oth- ers, and the world the way I have always wanted to be loved. Spiritual work in this context means giving voice to what is innermost and con- necting that to the outer world. We are called to be even larger-hearted than we could possibly imagine. Loving what is less than perfect. Let’s get on with it, shall we? ♦ Excerpted from No Recipe: Cooking as Spiritual Practice, by Edward Espe Brown. Reprinted with permission from Sounds True. Village Zendo Daily practice in downtown New York City for over thirty years. villagezendo.org Roshi Enkyo O’Hara Authentic Zen Kind Zen Tough Zen True Zen No Zen LION’S ROAR | MAY 2018 77