“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
My life’s journey has been one of creating clarity, first for my own life and then as a teacher for others, and continues to be that way. I believe that’s what’s so for all of us, the only difference may be is that we either consciously participate in that process or as the ancient Zen masters suggest, “We are dragged.” From my earliest days I have preferred not to have scarred knees.
Since I can remember I have always felt a “calling” to spirituality and religious life, or as a young Catholic we called it a “Vocation,” and as a young Catholic feeling the inspiration I thought it was to the Priesthood. It was, but not the Catholic Priesthood. Do not misunderstand me, there never was a conversion for me though I no longer and haven’t for a number of years been a “practicing Catholic” I still hold very deep affections for the “community of saints” I have come to know and love over the years, and continue every year to entertain the desire to attend Christmas Eve Mass. It is also important that you understand that even though Zen Buddhism has been my “vehicle of choice” for making this journey, I do not consider myself to be a Buddhist (in the conventional sense of the term) anymore than I was comfortable identifying with Catholicism or any “ism” as my religion. In the end my True Religion has always been “Freedom”. Zen Buddhism has and continues to prove to be the best fitting vehicle for both my nature and my heart’s desire.
There is a prayer I regularly offer at the altar in our Zendo, it goes like this:
“By the power and the truth of our efforts this day, may all beings everywhere be free of sorrow and suffering and the causes of sorrow and suffering; may all beings be content, and possess the causes for contentment and abundant prosperity. May all beings live in peace. This is our prayer, this is our intention.”
Can you identify the “intention”? Whenever I ask people “What is your intention?”, they usually tell me a goal or list of goals, or they are unable to identify their intention. Perhaps it is because we don’t know what “intention” really is, let alone its power. Another word for intention I prefer using is “context”. By definition “context” is a “field of energy” a “force of nature” which “allows for a peculiar content to surface”; the effect or results of ones thoughts, words, and actions, which is one’s “karma”. Context or intention is ones real and honest motivation; a persons foundational or core purpose for their life, the real meaning for their words and actions.