Practice is not a luxury. In times like these, practice is essential for resilience, centered-ness, and compassionate engagement.
Everyday Sublime: Shadow | Light | Unity
The Everyday Sublime podcast explores a full spectrum spirituality. Each week Josh will release a dharma talk, and each month Josh will publish a long-form conversation with a thought-leader from the field. As Stephen Batchelor says, "the mystical does not transcend the world, but saturates it."
Some people in the spiritual world say we don’t need crutches, or that we shouldn’t use crutches. This is true, we don’t need crutches; we don’t need zendos; we don’t need sesshins. But still, many seem to benefit from these supports.
Joseph Goldstein writes, “Effort becomes unskillful when there’s some idea of gain and a mind full of expectations, rather than an openness and receptivity to what is already.”
“As we peer into our experience, we peer into one of the biggest mysteries of all: The fact of our own consciousness peering back at the web of existence that created it.”
Compassion without wisdom can lead to emotional burnout. Wisdom without compassion can lead to detached apathy. Together they balance and complement each other on the path.
If the straight-ahead, conscious approach fails to render a solution, the “lateral drift” approach can be employed by allowing the mind to stop thinking about the problem which allows a solution to suggest itself.
From the safe experience of fundamental consciousness – a consciousness that is awake to, within and beyond the body – we can release and unburden the body’s holding of trauma within the fascia.
As the Buddha said, “The rain could turn to gold and still your thirst would not be slaked.” In many ways, the entire path pivots on the skillful relationship to desire.
The initial experience of awakening is not often one of calm, serenity, and bliss; rather, the initial encounter is one of waking up to confusion, uncertainty, and despair. We can map our own psychological experience to the mythological story of the Buddha’s biography.
If you let it, reality will wake you up out of your drifting state into a naturally awake state. This transitional pivot is the key moment upon which the entire spiritual path unfolds.
“The ‘I’ that is looking for pure awareness can’t find it, just as a wave can’t do something to find the ocean.”
If we respond to every television advertisement by purchasing the thing being advertised, we’d go bankrupt. In the same way, if we reflexively identify as the thinker of our thoughts, we make ourselves vulnerable to the demands of their message.
When two things interact, a third dynamic emerges. When two people come together a relationship emerges. When Yin and Yang come to harmony, a Third Way emerges as the Path.
All experience, if you let it, will reveal the vast empty space from which all things arise and cease. Recognizing that open space as the source of your own awareness facilitates the emergence of an undefended Heart.
The Inner Critic seems to present an obstacle on the spiritual path, judging and disparaging our practice at every turn. But what if there was gold to be found in even its nastiest of statements?
Josh considers wise friendship as the foundational energy of the spiritual path. The Buddha is believed to have said that wise friendship is, “the entirety of the holy life.” How might we weave this statement into our meditation and practice of yoga?
“You’re flying the plane and have to figure out what works. We – teachers – are just ground control.”
In this tribute, I’d like to mention three potential primary source thinkers and their books that I think had a strong influence on the man that Michael Brooks became. These three are what I’m calling the Triple Gem of Michael Brooks’ Dharma.
And it can be like that internally… when a dynamic of tension between parts or within a part, when that tension dissolves or unravels or is unburdened, there can be an experience of calm and quiet that unfolds, similar to the experience of a distant hum suddenly switching off.
“If you can be an inner Bodhisattva it’s much easier to be an outer Bodhisattva.” In other words, if we can relate to our inner world with care and tender compassion, it’s easier to relate to our outer world with care and tender compassion.