I am leading the scheduled meditation sessions at the One Drop Zendo this year, so I am writing a little here about meditation at Williams.
Last week, I wrote an article, and a few students were nice enough to tell me that they liked it, and that some of what I wrote resonated with what they had been thinking on the same topic. I had good talks with these people, and would like to invite anyone else to talk about these issues, including those who don’t like what I write. Don’t worry about offending me. I haven’t been offended in a long time.
This article is about commitment.
To be committed means that you are committed to something outside of yourself. To do this is difficult, and we must pay attention to the world we live in so that we can see things we do not understand. In order to truly accomplish this, we must accomplish it with our hearts. We must be open to the world, becoming fully involved and letting ourselves be helped and hurt by our daily activities. In order to be able to do this, we must have a core that will not die and cannot be injured. If we do not have this, then we cannot find the courage and strength and confidence to open up.
This core is, in the end, the desire to help others. But in practice, in the way we experience it, it is subtler. I call it “commitment to our own true life.”
It is commitment itself that is important; it is not necessary to be committed to an important thing. If we wait until we have found the perfect thing to commit to, it will never come. We must work simply on being totally committed, and we commit ourselves to whatever comes up, whatever befalls us, whatever appears before us in our lives at this time. We must choose to be committed. But instead of this, we do things that we ourselves know we are not passionate about, forgetting more and more, day by day, what we were born to do.
Making ourselves committed to our lives, committed to the life we were meant to lead, heals this situation. This “life we were meant to lead” is not some predetermined set of events, not something we feel is especially important. This life is the thing that is always pushing a person off his own terms, always slipping into cracks and blocking doorways. This life has never been decided, never pinned down.
To be taken out of your comfort zone is necessary for growth. It is impossible to take oneself out of one’s own comfort zone, however, so we must be deeply grateful for the experiences that come to us day to day, and give them our full attention, seeing things we have not seen before, being honest about who we are but without trying to control everything.
I have seen many people forget everything important and go off planning out their futures: people looking for jobs, looking for money, looking for accomplishment, looking for happiness. These people are already lost. They are no longer “real.” To be committed means to be fully involved. To be fully involved means that you have no idea what is going on. The only thing that is worth this kind of commitment is one’s own life, the tangible thing we can feel and know right now. One’s own life requires that kind of commitment because once that level has been achieved, there is no more “my” life. There is only life itself.
To feel this pure life does not mean to know what is going on.
Knowing what is going on is a different issue entirely. A person who thinks he is the same, who needs to know about his life before he can become involved in it, is different. He has some idea of what he wants to do and is following that idea. This is comfortable, but this person is not yet truly interested in fulfilling his potential in the world. He does not yet truly believe that this potential really exists.
To be committed means that new abilities are forced out of a person, that he goes through things he didn’t plan on going through, and not just events: his very person is a person he can’t plan out. He is committed to something greater than himself, something he cannot understand, something he does not need to understand. This is the life we were meant to lead.
Once a person has felt this life, experienced this potential for real growth, he knows that certain things he thought were parts of people are not really there, and also that things which he thought were not parts of people, are really there. This causes a change in the way he approaches problems in the world. Therefore, one must be committed to living, not just thinking about or figuring out, but actually living, one’s own fullest life. This fullest life cannot be planned out, or considered ahead of time, or decided upon, or hoped for.
So here’s the point of this article: Discovering the events in this fullest life of reaching one’s potential is not separate, not different, not apart from finding the life itself which is flowing through us right now. As a person comes to know this moment’s life, comes to be able to function while being open to greater things than his own opinions and assumptions about the world, comes to interact with reality, his life direction and daily choices are taken from him, provided for him.
Therefore, knowing the life of this instant is the same, exactly the same, as knowing the life of this day or year.
The simplest way to connect in this direct way with life is simple meditation. It is simple, and the hard parts can be overcome. I will be in the Zendo at 5:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. every day. Everyone is welcome to join me for whatever reason. 00tss x6282