Life is The Way
“This rationalization of the spiritual path and one’s actions must be cut through if true spirituality is be realized…Whenever we have a dualistic notion such as, “I am doing this because I want to a particular state of consciousness, a particular state of being,” then automatically we separate ourselves from the reality of what we are.”
– Chogyam Trungpa, “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism”
Whenever I am asked, “How did you come to your spiritual path?”, I reply, “I never have.” Somewhere around the 60’s a new religion was given birth out of the spirit of revolution or opposition to a status quo both political and religious. As well intended I am sure the revolution and the revolutionist were, whenever you create something no matter what it is in opposition to something else, whatever it is you are opposing will make its way into the new creation. Kind of like when Jesus said, “To conquer the Romans, make you no different than they.”
Living a Zen-Inspired Life or Authentic Spirituality is more a question than an answer. True spirituality is a process of regularly “checking” oneself, questioning motive and inspiration. Whenever we rely on one of the many spiritual venues available in contemporary America to “become”, “more, better, or different”, paraphrasing Chogyam Trungpa, “We have already separated ourselves from the singular purpose of spirituality.” No matter how sincere, well versed in scripture, no matter how many hours of meditation or yoga postures we’ve done, “ego” has acquired and is applying the particular spiritual practice one is engaging, for its own benefit. For example whenever we meditate or do yoga, or pray or read scripture, to become more peaceful or to feel closer to God or Buddha, because we may not feel that way at the moment, Ego is really at work in the “role of spiritual advisor”. It doesn’t matter the reason or “rationalization” for “why” we are spiritual, just having one in and of itself is “egocentric”, and all that has really happened is that “this time” is that our spiritual practice has smoothed over our discomfort for us.
The singular purpose of “spirituality” is to “awaken” or “wake up”. The ancient Zen Masters would say, “Enlightenment? Nothing special!”, for what we are awakening to “always was and always will be”. It has nothing to do with shifting from one’s pathetic life or sinfulness to a more or better or different life, even though it may seem that way, but realizing the futility of both living “unskillful ways of life” that just leave one feeling empty, and recognizing that we are more than what we think, more than what we do, more than what we think we are, and more than what we will ever have. One cannot “acquire” this awakening or find it anywhere, or obtain it. It is as simple as “waking up in the morning”, and as miraculous as “seeing the Morning Star (Sun) for the first time” even though it has been there our entire lifetime. Once really seen, clarity is the first result. We see what always was and always will be. The veil of “being either spiritual or religious” has been lifted and we see clearly that “we are spirituality”, and “we never left home” or, we’ve never been separated from God or Buddha-Nature.
Once awakened, the sense of having a “shift in ones consciousness” is more like, “we’re paying attention now”, and our “spiritual practice” is now an expression or manifestation of who we are, rather than some special means to becoming who we think we should be. “Birds sing, Buddha’s sit.” The next result is, we speak and act more kindly, lovingly, and compassionately, and when we fail to do so we simply “clean up our mess” and “start again”. Enlightenment is not a “perfection”, it is an embracing of all ours and others “imperfections”. Realizing that “the crack is where the Sun can get in,” and that there is no separation between the “human and the divine”, or “Heaven and Earth”.
I once told a friend of mine to, “Stop making her life a project.” Life is not some project or opportunity for getting better or for getting it right this time, it is a precious and fragile gift we have for the moment, and then we don’t. Spiritual Wisdom is, “knowing how to hold that gift in your hands, and knowing what not to do that could harm it,” living each day of your life every moment of your life, accordingly. Spirituality is about cultivating a conducive environment for one (like parenting a child) to “become” more and more “who it is”, and not what we “think” it is or should be and, nurturing it with the things of Heaven or Nirvana. So meditation, yoga, prayer, and the study of sacred texts, are all means for “being skillful and loving parents” by “manifesting” or “expressing” our truest nature and inherent capacity to love beyond our imagination, endure beyond our expectations, forgive beyond our most painful experiences, and awaken from our slumber and dreams of separation and sinfulness. Then the Garden will thrive again and all its occupants will be satisfied that the garden is and always was sufficient.
I’m here! I see you! Do you see me?
I love you,