Sunday, March 24, 2013

doing my damnedest to be good

Is there anything better than a good belly-laugh? Maybe so, but laughter has a way of cleaning out the pipes and leaving things spic and span.

It seems to me that, more often than not, spiritual endeavor lacks enough belly-laughter... not the heh-heh wise-and-wizened smiles, but the pedal-to-the-metal, everything-washed-clean, take-no-prisoners, tears-roll-down-your-cheeks stuff.

Sure, there's always the good news in spiritual life, but the path between 'here' and 'there' is peppered with enough explosive devices to make Iraqi IED's look like child's play by comparison. Gettin' to the good stuff takes some serious effort and serious effort seldom makes anyone fall down laughing.

Well, I tried an experiment this morning during zazen and I pass it along for what it's worth.

In the formal practice of Zen Buddhism, zazen, or seated meditation, is often given some emphasis. Zazen is the literal, physical, sit-down-sit-still-erect-the-spine-shut-up-and-focus-the-mind stuff. Zazen is not easy, but what's hard about it is almost never what anyone imagines.

Anyway, this was my experiment: After lighting some incense and seating myself on the cushion, I took the usual few moments to make sure the body was steady and the breath flowed easily. And once steadied, there was some effort to focus the mind, to stop chasing after what I was wont to chase. Easy does it, steady and firm -- focus the mind.

And once having steadied the body and mind a bit, I took every ounce of energy I could muster, used every bit of focus I could find, put everything else aside and did my god-damned-est to be...
G O O D!
I cannot suggest that my reaction is the only possible reaction to such an experiment. I can say that it left me no-holds-barred laughing my ass off.

And laughter, in my book, is a good thing.

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