Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reality of practice

     "We come to practice because there are aspects of our mind that we don't know how to come to terms with. ... anger ... sexuality ... anxiety. It can be anything we haven't come to terms with in our lives. But in our sitting, we find out that we have to face exactly those things that we don't want to face. Joko (Beck) used to say that it usually took several years for people to see what practice was really about, and then most of them would quit. They would go off and find some way of pursuing their idealized fantasy of the spiritual life, rather than admit that practice inevitably means sitting with our ordinary mind.

     Joko always talked about sitting as building a bigger container, and what was contained was primarily emotion. She wanted the container to hold all the painful, messy, inconvenient things that we usually come to practice to get away from. We sit still with what we came to avoid. Although the pain we may be most immediately aware of is the pain in our knees, everything we avoid is a form of pain, and all are ultimately grounded in the pain of embodied impermanence."

Magid B. Ending the pursuit of happiness - a Zen guide. Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2008.

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