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Lions Roar : November 2018
How to Get Over the Hurdles Buddhist teachers answer your questions about challenges on the spiritual path TOO TIGHT, THEN TOO LOOSE Sometimes I try really hard when I meditate, and sometimes I forget to do the technique and just hang out. Where’s the line between not trying hard enough and trying too much, between too rigid and too loose? TENKU RUFF: Finding the balance between too tight and too loose is an ongoing, dynamic aspect of our practice. There is a constant fine-tuning that is more about returning to center over and over than getting it right. As we practice, sometimes we find our minds drifting off and becoming complacent. This is the time to add a little extra energy. When we are pushing so hard that we find our teeth clenched or our shoulders tight, it is time to add a bit of spa- ciousness. More than attaining some final, perfect result, mak- ing these fine adjustments and returning to center over and over is the core of our practice. When I was starting practice in Japan, a Zen teacher told us the way practice works is that we build up our practice, then it falls apart. And then we build it up again, and it falls apart again. This is the way it goes. Over the years, I’ve found great comfort in these words. This is what it means be a human being practicing Buddhism—no need for judgments about doing it right or wrong. The most important thing is to continue. TENKU RUFF, OSHO, is a chaplain, Zen priest, and president of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. TOO BUSY TO MEDITATE I feel stretched thin. I have a full-time job and young children to look after. Plus, I always try get enough sleep and exercise, stay informed, and be an active citizen. I can’t seem to find enough time to meditate. VINNY FERRARO: How can we possibly meet all of the demands of modern life? We can’t do everything, and we can’t do much without some downtime. Otherwise, our heads can feel like they’re spinning as fast as the world around us. So, how do we prioritize spiritual practice within our sched- ules? And can we find other places in our lives where we prac- tice just being? It may help to redefine what meditation practice looks like. I understand the practice as one of arrival, a kind of home- coming if you will. In this way, it can be a great relief from the fragmented awareness of multitasking. Ask yourself: Are there moments in my day when I could check in with myself? You might find there are opportunities throughout your day wherein you could offer your undivided attention. How many times a day can I step out of my story and into direct experience? If lunch is part of your daily schedule, could you incorporate an eating practice? Close your eyes, turn your awareness inward. Slow it all down. This embodiment, this kind presence, offers us different gifts than a formal sitting practice does. It helps us give our lives back to ourselves. VINNY FERRARO is on the senior faculty of Mindful Schools and has been leading a weekly group in San Francisco for the last fourteen years. PHOTOBYT-REX&FLOWER/STOCKSYUNITED LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2018 49