Out of My Head into the Present Moment
“Buddhism is a process of discovery, not a list of principles. There is no book of Buddhist principles. Buddhism is about realization. It is about transformation of consciousness. It means throwing everything out, including Buddhism, and going very deep within yourself to find the foundations of your life. And once you have done that, to learn to live your life out of that which has been realized—not what you’ve been told you should or shouldn’t do.” Wisdom Seeking Wisdom, Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori Roshi, True Dharma Eye, Case 24, Xuansha Hears the Sound of a Swallow
Buddhism is about growth or, to put it in business terms, continuing education. It does have scriptures, sutras and koans. However, if you try to read them and understand them, it is migraine-inducing. They are not meant for intellectual comprehension but for intellectual stymying. When you have reached the end of logic and rationalizing, then maybe you can experience the extreme simplicity of them. It is all radically experiential.
Zen masters will do just about anything to bring their charges into the moment (and out of living in their heads), including whacking them with sticks. That doesn’t seem the best or most effective method to me, but I understand the logic. I’ve lived enough in my head to know that such an existence hardly qualifies as “living.”
I need to learn more about “engaged Buddhism.” I suspect that that is probably where I will end up anyhow. How can we live in this world and not want to help alleviate suffering?
It is so easy to live in our own little worlds and not notice what is going on all round us. A few days ago, I drove around Charlotte (MI, not NC) and saw depression everywhere. Houses everywhere were for sale and empty streets had an eerie quality in the stiff breeze. I hadn’t been out there in years. I don’t have the money to drive around like I used to, so I spend my time in Lansing and doing most things locally. Going there was an eye-opener.
I have my sense of urgency back. I had lost it in the day to day world of taking care of Barry and things seeming to change very slowly. When one day is like the next, it is tough to be urgent about anything or even know what day it is. Without school and work keeping me on track with the days of the week, I just focused on my immediate responsibilities. I have even been bored! My little road trip was a kick in the pants. I am back out of my head.