we don't need to change how we do conservation, we need to change why we do it

Young Buddha leaves Home, Part-2: the Practice

A short selection from Essay Twenty-Five in Darwin, Dogen, and the Extremophile Choice.

What would it be like to settle into your own body, into a sense of just being alive, even for a few moments … You can find out of course, just by dropping in on yourself and purposely not filling the present moment up with anything, especially anxieties about the future … or resentment about what has already transpired … —Jon Kabat-Zinn [1]

To simply pay attention, just seeing through our quiet desperation of attachments, is the whole and unconditional assignment. Teachers, teachings, and mindfulness groups are all here to support you (and despite the challenges, they will, and surprisingly, they can); however, the ‘refuge’ phrases you might learn (“I take refuge in the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha”) are not meant to protect you from the upheaval of your (supposedly fundamental) belief systems: there is no real safety from self-knowledge except in the difficult quiet of non-judgemental acceptance itself. But then, when we do commit to this path of everyday heroes, “why we do it” becomes excruciatingly obvious. As Zen priest Steve Hagen (the writer who taught me the importance of practice) tells us, “We only need to see that it’s beyond the [re-presenting] spin of paradox that Truth and Reality are glimpsed. If we would simply not try to pin Reality down, confusion would no longer turn us away.” [2]

Notes:

. Kabat-Zinn, Jon. 2005. Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion, p. 421.

2. Hagen, Steve. 2004. Buddhism is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom Beyond Beliefs. San Francisco: Harper Collins, p. 5.

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