Saturday, August 08, 2009

meditation takes gumption

"Meditation takes gumption." p.7 of Bhante Genepola Gunaranta's Mindfulness in Plain English.

I've taken a bit of a Dharma holiday, and by that I mean a holiday away from the Dharma. I often try to surround my life with the Dharma through meditation, listening to Dharma talks, reading, spending time with friends by various means.

What happens if I stopped that, and saw what suck, reminded myself of what I lose when I don't do those things?

What happens is I don't feel as healthy, aware, centered, honoring what is important to me. I feel like I've lost my vision, I'm adrift, unmoored.

It's a bit of a crisis for me. How do I get it back? I'm going to have a big powerful retreat in a month and I really want to build up to it. In part I'm exhausted from work and family life, but I'm also not doing the most nourishing things I could be doing.

Another strand, is that reading The Essential Sangharakshita, I wonder if I can whip up the requisite intensity. This landmark book carries the most intense bits of Sangharakshita's corpus. I felt like I had to wear oven mits to hold the book. Can I sustain that amidst my ambition to be a good father, to be a good therapist to my patients? I have divided my energies into three big projects. Maybe they have synergy between them.

So another strand is the question, can I infuse what feels nonspiritual with the spiritual? Can I get spiritual nourishment from work and family life? I think the answer is yes, but it really works most when I surround myself with the other supports, like meditation, friendship and study.

So reading this quote this morning from Bhante Genepola Gunaranta helped me. I got up and meditated. I realized that what I'm trying to do isn't the usual thing, but that it's the thing for me, and that I really need confidence in my path, that I'm learning even as I try experiments that fail.

I think also I've kind of thrown myself into the Dharma willy nilly. I want to target myself more, be more judicious, really cull the wisdom I have gained about what's truly nourishing.

I've notice sometimes in myself and others, they can take the insights and use them to feel dispirited, when they could easily be empowering. Maybe my little experiment has shown me what is really important to me. I must do the best I can under the circumstances and work to improve the circumstances.

"You can make a great deal of effort, but if it does not include an effort to create more favorable conditions, you are almost wasting your energy. On the other hand, you can be in the most favorable conditions imaginable, but if you are not making an effort, what use are those conditions? Both are necessary." THE ESSENTIAL SANGHARAKSHITA page 629

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