In Bendowa, from the Shobogenzo... Authentic Experience of Grace... Dogen Kigen, Zenji wrote: “Abandon all concepts. Engage Zazen single-minded awareness, discarding notions of enlightenment or illusion, emotion and logic. Then you will be able to walk freely and make use of your authentic nature with completeness. Those who place value on opinion, theory and philosophy have nothing to compare with This.”
There was a time when I was focused on the virtual-reality thought life in my head. Strangely, it left me mentally, and emotionally unavailable to others, and myself; even if I was standing directly in front of you. I read a lot of books, took a lot of classes. I'd falsely assumed that if I had acquired enough smarts through books, talismans, and other things that would somehow translate into fixing my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual insecurity and trauma, I'd magically be happy, or have some semblance of "Control," over my life. It turned out that wasn't accurate. Those things were one, two, or three pieces of a 100 piece jig-saw puzzle; of feeling, dealing, assimilating, integrating and healing that stuff.
What did that look like for me personally? Going to recovery meetings consistently; and being a part of the meeting. I was taught to bring a little notebook and pen. When I heard something that made sense, I was supposed to write it down, and see if I could apply it to my life in a healthy way.
I used Twelve Steps. I've done so with sponsors and people who've taken me under their wing. At this point, I've been able to do 26 different versions, so far. People have been really kind to me, to lead me through their paths, and share their hard-won insights freely. Though there's one mountain, there are many paths and approaches up that mountain, that give access to different aspects of ourselves, and the world Itself.
I've heard people do basically one version of the Steps, and functionally that was it. If that gives them access to being fully whole and wholly free, excellent! But as for myself, that was not the case. It's been a process, and not an event. I've also done "Truth Inventories," with a mentor, excavating and as my dear friend Noah say's, taking responsibility for my personal "Earth-ship," that's my life.
Perhaps most importantly for someone that's like me, I learned Zazen. I learned how to meditate, and developed that as a skill. That made it possible for me to change the relationship with what was going on inside of my head that I found myself comically powerless over. I also have a personal kind of mantra I use, as my living meditation question. It's asking myself over and over and over and over: "How does what I'm doing right now, lead me to being fully whole, and wholly free?" And if it doesn't, not doing whatever that thing is. There's no glory in wasting time, and being a source of my own suffering.
There's also the thousands of conversations with people. Some were people that I actively sought out because I found them to be incredibly inspiring. With others it was random interactions, chance opportunities, or someone just coming to mind, and I had a number or a connection that allowed for interaction, and so I interacted. Those conversations have been extremely helpful and "I," opening... no that wasn't a typo.
That's what got me out of thought world and into the real world. That's what dissolved physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual insecurities of the mind, and I stopped assuming that "Thought-life," was actually my real life. It's really not. It only through some direct, and sustained experience of meditation that we can notice the reality. That's what ended the suffering, though, I still can have pain.
The invitation... for just this moment... maybe an hour or two... Abandon all concepts. Engage the present moment, with one-pointed, undivided, stabilized presence; without turning things into what they're not. Temporarily stop holding on to ideas of being the best or worst. We could stop picking at ourselves like we're picking a scab that causes us to bleed happiness, friendliness, calmness, and kindness. Then you will be able to live fully whole, and wholly free. Authenticity, and integrity is what could allow us to experience "Completeness." Without all the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual baggage... how could we travel then? Please, enjoy a day off from being a thinker. Welcome to mindful, embodied Being, transformationally living, rather than transactionally existing.
一Dignity and Grace