Life is so much more than God’s classroom. I don’t know about you, but "classroom" conjures up images of Sister Thaddeus whopping my wrists with a yardstick. Yes, sometimes it feels like God’s giving us a nice little wollop but if I look at the circumstances behind the wollop there’s a good chance I had something to do with it, and if I didn’t I just have to find a way to accept it. But, I do like to think of life as more of a playground. It’s just more fun.
Sitting practice is so much more than the time we spend on the cushion it’s the awareness we bring into our daily lives. Making every time everywhere the wholly. No this is not a typo; strangely enough the root of the word holy is actually from germanic heilig meaning whole. What does this tell us?
At some point we realize that we aren’t sitting, walking, or breathing aware and we have to consciously set our awareness in the moment. I’ve actually gone as far as setting an alarm at random points during the day to remind me to ask myself whether I’m aware of what I’m doing. The big fear is that the alarm will sound while I have my finger shoved up my nose but so far I’ve managed to avoid it.
Relationships, sports, recreational activities, work, and health all provide fodder for spiritual growth. I recently re-herniated a cervical disc and was in more pain than I’ve ever experienced. This woke me up regarding how much focus I need to develop in my practice. I couldn’t sit for longer than fifteen minutes. The pain’s subsided but I still have odd muscle contractions, and my little finger doesn’t work properly. Bringing awareness into these parts of my life has been really helpful.
Relationships with our spouses or loved ones are another great awakener. In Carlos Castaneda’s books Don Juan talks about what he calls the “petty tyrant” someone that the sorcerer seeks to help them relieve them of their ego through abuse. This may be a little extreme in today’s world. I don’t recommend to anyone allowing someone to abuse them physically or emotionally, in any situation, but we can come away with a great deal if we look at how our spouses or loved ones moods, and words affect us. Then we can see whether we react or act in loving kindness.
We come to a point when in daily life we can watch as events cause thoughts sensations and emotions to rise. We can see from where they come and let go. While writing my last post on expanding and contracting my dog crapped on the floor. Prime fodder for spiritual development. I watched as the anger rose, watched it grow realizing that it was very apropos. Then I laughed and cleaned up after her; she just looked at me wagging her tail as if she brought me the newspaper. Gotta love dogs. Male or female they’re just men with more hair.