Monday, September 17, 2007

Daily Dharma: Being Here

Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle and yesterday's Chogyam Trungpa quote seem to go together quite well -- both are about being absolutely present in our lives. No easy task.

The Hallmark of the Enlightenment Process

The hallmark of the enlightenment process is in being "here" and not "there." Indeed, the focal point of continuity is in being here at all times. The famous message of Ram Dass to "Be here now" is what results when one is adept in this practice. It is laborious in that it requires great perseverance -- we are up against lifelong patterns -- but it is a major enlightenment practice because it can break through our basic conditioning.

The secret of success in continuity practice is to eliminate any sense of failure. From the moment we begin, we are successful. The only measure of success is this moment, right now. Are we here? If we are here, our practice is perfect.

The fact that we have just returned from out yonder, or that we might take off again in a few seconds, is not relevant. Without this practice, we would always be spaced out. We would rarely experience being here. Thus, each moment we are able to break the pattern, we have succeeded.

~ David A. Cooper, Silence, Simplicity and Solitude; from Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith.

And here is the Trungpa quote:


Nowness is the sense that we are attuned to what is happening. The past is fiction and the future is a dream, and we are just living on the edge of a razor blade. It is extraordinarily sharp, extraordinarily tentative and quivering. We try to establish ground but the ground is not solid enough, because it is too sharp. We are quivering between that and this....This razor-blade quality is something more than psychological irritation. Life as a whole becomes penetratingly sharp -- unavoidable and at the same time cutting. We could say that is the living description of the truth that life contains pain. According to Buddhism, life or existence is defined according to the truth of suffering, which is the razor blade.

~ From "The Razor's Edge," in Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle, pages 18 to 19.

Being totally present in our lives is maybe the most difficult thing we can do -- it requires that we be able live with ambiguity and discomfort. It's easy to see why Trungpa refers to it as the razor's edge.

But the more we sit, and become accustomed to that feeling during our meditation practice, the more able we are to live that way in the world as well. I've still got a long way to go, but I can see the process working.

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