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we are never lost even when

Updated: Jun 29




Practice and its integration in daily life cannot be about reaching a sense of perfection at some point in time. It is not that there is no perfection, it’s that it cannot be pursued. Practice is a constant striving and extending of oneself, not an impulse to overcome limitations. Whatever the depth of one’s realization may be it will not make us immune to the vicissitudes of existence. After years of practice one may or may not feel a sense of peace of mind and serenity but this, like everything else in life, doesn’t have a sense of durability and abidingness to it. 


To live as a human is to face uncertainty as the most intimate expression of what is real. What practice does is not to smooth out the rough edges of our lives but help foster a sense of equanimity where there is less resistance in accepting the crisis and chaos of existence. Okumura Roshi puts it this way: the aim of practice is not to learn how best to stop the storms of life but to walk them. 


Ongoing practice is a process and whilst most things we do in life tend toward an outcome and are borne out of a drive or purpose, here we avail ourselves or try to avail ourselves to whatever presents itself to us by recognizing it as an expression of undivided life. An undivided life has no inside or outside, it is whole, unfragmented by thought. 


We are not apart from the Tao. We are that watercourse springing out of the earth, flowing out of itself, rushing towards the ocean, towards where, towards anywhere, unconcerned if and when it will reach home. Home does not lie ahead in some distant horizon, home is in the flowing, in the flowing for nothing, without why, for no flowing for something could ever grasp what flowing ultimately is for. What flows is itself home, movement released from self, other and destination. It is motion supported by unknowing that thrusts it forward, backward, beyond itself. Aimless yet ceaselessly moving towards. Towards where, towards thus, towards the unknown. River, your destination was reached long before you started even the journey. “ Anché dar josté juyé āni, āni / that which you seek, that you are.- Rumi.” Destination is always here, always reached when there is no stopping to ask how far one has come, how far is left to go. You have reached your destination when you are no longer concerned with where the journey is taking you. “Having no destination I’m never lost- Ikkyu.” 

  

A moment to moment realization unfolds: the never being apart from movement is the flow surrendering to the flow.  Wondrous ability we share with all beings and all rivers.


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