28 Jun
Posted in: Books, Practice
By    Comments Off on Start Now

Start Now

I’ve discovered a terrific new book by poet and Zen priest, Norman Fischer. It’s called Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong. Basically, he’s taken the 59 “slogans” used for reflection in the Tibetan Lojong practice and given them a contemporary, cross-traditional rendering that I find quite refreshing.

The first slogan is: Train in the Preliminaries. He describes three ways to understand and practice with this slogan, including the fundamental direction to:

Start a meditation practice, a daily practice if possible, and trust that sitting regularly with attention on your breathing and the feeling in your body will provide the spiritual inspiration and force necessary to set a new process in motion in your life.

He also gives very clear instructions for basic meditation practice, including this lovely summation:

Meditation is, fundamentally, sitting with the basic feeling of being alive. What is the basic feeling of being alive? Being conscious, embodied, and breathing. That is actually what it feels like to be alive. Every moment of your life, and all of your feelings, thoughts, and accomplishments, depend on this, but most of us hardly ever notice it. In meditation our task is just to be present with this and nothing else. Simply sitting aware of the feeling of being alive.

…Essentially, it is nothing more than sitting with an honest awareness of the process of your life. While such awareness may seem exactly like the self-consciousness we usually feel in daily living, meditation practice will show us that it is in fact subtly but crucially different in that is is nonjudgmental and all-inclusive awareness.

This nonjudgmental and all-inclusive awareness, promoted and developed by meditation practice but more than meditation practice, will help us eventually understand and put into practice the wisdom and flexibility to deal with the events of our lives, and with others.

(image from: A Whole World, by Couprie and Louchard)  

Comments are closed.