Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Impeccability OR Half-heartedness?
“A man or woman of knowledge is impeccable. There are some people who are very careful about the nature of their acts. Their happiness is to act with the full knowledge that they don’t have time. Therefore their acts have a peculiar power. Acts have power, especially when the person acting knows that those acts are their last battle. There’s a strange, consuming happiness in acting with the full knowledge that whatever one is doing, may very well be one’s last act on earth. What matters to a warrior is that they become impeccable - that every act counts.
This is also the quality of mindfulness or awareness. It’s the quality of learning to live completely in each day, in each hour, in each action, in each communion or touching of another person.
For Don Juan it means taking Death as an advisor – ‘Death over your left shoulder’. Realizing that [this year] may be it! That may be it for this particular dance for you - or even for the whole world. We don’t really know. And somehow to realize the shortness and the preciousness of it. And with that say – ‘How do I want to live?’
The opposite of impeccability is half-heartedness. Think about it. Think of how many things in our lives we’ve done half-heartedly. We went to school half-heartedly some of us; or do our work, or some relationships which we ‘kind-of do’, or various other things. Those are the big ones. And then the little ones: of going for a walk in the woods and being so caught-up in a thought or worry or memory, we don’t smell the pine trees or see the ice as it glistens on the branches. It’s like it goes by and we’re on automatic pilot. Think again, for yourself, of the times you’ve lived most fully in your life.
Those times when you’re really whole-hearted and you did something with all your energy, all your attention, all your body and spirit – all together. It doesn’t even matter how it comes out, when you live in that fashion. Just the quality of living and doing it completely itself is fulfilling. Think about the things you really put yourself into, and how they taste to you – they have a certain taste of sweetness from that fullness.
This is the central quality of a spiritual warrior, of a man or woman of knowledge, is awakening this capacity to be full or impeccable or careful in relationship to the body, to breath, to movement, to all the physical elements, in relation to our emotions, to be aware and present with our desires, our actions.
And we can practice it in all kinds of ways. You can come to a retreat and be silent, and sit and walk, and sit and walk, and sit and walk, and sit and walk, and gradually, you know, very slowly, in it’s way, it gets nourished. And you find that on the fifth day of the retreat you’re reaching to take a cup of tea, and for a moment it becomes like the Japanese Tea Ceremony. And you’re just there taking a cup of tea. And it’s the only thing in the world, and you’re really there. It makes all those five miserable days worth it just even to have a moment like that. At least I think so. But it can be trained in all kinds of other ways – it’s not just through sitting."
Jack Kornfield. “Awakening is Real. A Guide to the Deeper Dimensions of the Inner Journey.” Sounds True (Podcast #2 The Way of the Warrior), 2012.