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Monday, May 6, 2013

Face It

A contemplative approach is no substitute for taking action..  Sitting in meditation, calming the heart and mind, slowing thoughts and breath, and moving into a place of less reaction is absolutely great stuff.  It might be just exactly what you need at the moment you need it.

But if you're doing that instead of facing what must be faced, if you're trying to still your mind instead of having that difficult conversation or dealing with that situation, then you're mis-using the gift of spirituality.  The gift(s) around spirituality enable you to transform your internal landscape so that you're more effective in dealing with your circumstances and relationships, not to assist you in avoiding them.

As one of my favorite authors, Robert Pirsig, wrote, "The only Zen you find on the top of the mountain is the Zen you bring up there."  If you are retreating from a tricky situation, gird yourself with a peaceful state of mind and venture into that trickiness with your own purity and simplicity, maybe refusing to play along with the trickiness, but not refusing to engage where you need to engage.

Spiritual practice is about filling yourself with all the power available to the human soul, and going out and spreading it around, elevating and uplifting yourself first, and then everything in your path.  Use the right tool in the right way at the right time.  Face what you must face when you must face it.  

The power to face a situation isn't the only tool we have, but often the first one we abandon in the spiritual search. We confuse facing difficulty with creating strife or conflict.  But facing difficulty is simply having the courage to acknowledge what is in front of us with sincerity and honesty, and addressing it with respect and compassion.  

It doesn't have to be bigger or smaller than that.  No extra drama or minimizing the situation is required to mitigate what really is.  And when you do finally face what's been right in front of you all the time, even if you're clumsy or awkward in doing so, you will feel the full breeze of lightness float up in you, and the release of a heaviness that you are not well designed to carry.  And you can be sure that if you are ready to confront yourself, then you are ready for the rest of it too.  

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