Practice? Sure.. But When?!

Don't wait for the pile to go down before you Practice... The pile is your Practice!

Don’t wait for the pile to go down before you Practice… The pile is your Practice!

Sometimes life gets so busy that we may feel as if we need to ‘clear our plate’ before we can begin to focus on our spiritual development.. or any other development for that matter. ‘How can I have a clear, single-mind when I have 8 different things I need to keep in the forefront of my mind… I have to pick up that prescription, buy groceries, book the car in for a tune-up, sort the kids clothes that no longer fit, fold and put away the laundry, and on and on and on…..’

And if and when we get to those times when our plate is actually clear, we may tend to want to just chill-out, put our feet up and read a good book or watch some tv..

So, our Practice, our development, goes stagnant.

We can brush this off with reassuring thoughts… ‘well, I have been too busy and I deserve to simply rest’..

I remember reading a long time ago about a story of a Zen center in the Far East. It was in a busy city, I believe, and there were lots of car horns, traffic, sirens and the rest making lots and lots of noise outside. And in the evenings when it got a bit quieter, feral cats who had made a home under the monastery would make a huge racket themselves, with fighting, playing, mating and the rest.

So, thinking we need a quiet environment, a quiet place with no responsibilities looming over us, to meditate properly is, well, something we need to overcome. There will never be a perfect time to practice, never be a perfect place to practice. And if there was a perfect place and time, then great, but our minds just might think too much about how perfect it is! Lol.

So, our lives may be hectic, but it is in those hectic moments that our practice may mean the most… and also those moments may in fact be the best time and place to actual do our practice.

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Meditative vision

In the shadows, Bodhidharma lurks.

In the shadows, Bodhidharma lurks.

In the darkened room, the incense billows and chanting fills the air. A tiger appears, or is it a man, all that is seen are eyes, huge eyes, peering around a corner, straight into my eyes, my brain, my mind, then into my heart.

Surprise, then almost anger, perhaps contempt, then, is that fear?

Surprise of my unexpected presence.

Anger for being in their space without permission.

Contempt for not going through the stages to allow access.

Fear, for that all fades away and here I am, before the tiger, the dragon, the man… who is this? What is this? What is this that protects this monastery? Is that even what this place is? Where is this place? Is it even really here?

Then after fear, acceptance, and chanting consumes the air and smoke clouds all sight… expect in the corner, inconspicuous, a tiny Buddha statue stares at the unfolding seen.

I bow, the tigerman bows and the buddha rings some bells.

The bells remain deadly still and our heads vibrate with the cosmos.