[This is, verbatim, an email sent on December 7 to our current email class, “It’s Time to Feel Good.” The focus of the class is to make a recording of the loving encouragement of your internal mentor to keep your commitments to yourself. The commitment participants have in common is to record (R) and listen (L) to the recording as often possible. (One class member suggests we’ve coined a new verb, R/Ling.) The point is to drown out the voices of egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate, which usually dominate our internal dialogue, with what we know to be true.]
TTFG Dec. 7
What We Are Up To
I sensed in the most recent batch of responses a creeping reassertion of the slimy, slippery, sneaky tentacles of egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate, and it occurred to me that perhaps it’s time for a review of just what we’re up to here. Please, if you are not feeling those creeping tendrils, do not think I’m addressing this to you—though it’s always helpful to be forewarned, n’est-ce pas? Sooner or later, they will creep.
Remember in What You Practice Is What You Have how often I came back to “one process does not lead to another”? Another way to say that is “the outcome is the same as the process.” In conditioned thinking you can “do this and get that;” which is a lie. In truth, if you do this you’ll only ever get this.
In other words, you do a process as a practice because what you get is the process that you practice. (Ha, this really IS Zen.) Or, one doesn’t lead to the other; one is the other.
The value of Zen awareness practice—when you do it!—is that you don’t question the process. You just do it. (We must keep in mind here that Zen awareness practice is completely voluntary. We sign on. We ask to do it because we want to end suffering and believe this is the way to do that.) So we do the practice. No if, ands, or buts. What you do in awareness practice is to do what you’re given to do. You don’t evaluate it, you don’t decide to do it based on how you feel about it or whether it feels good or you like it or you can see the value in it or you want to—you just do it. Because you said you would. Because you decided to. Because you committed to do it.
The opportunity with that commitment is to look at what prevents you from keeping it. Overcoming the resistance that arises is what the practice is about. Overcoming that resistance is what will free you. The fact of the matter is that your commitment could be to wake up every morning of your life and pat your nose 3 times—it doesn’t matter. All that matters is doing what you committed to do. It has nothing to do with whether or not what you’re doing is beneficial, though in this case, practicing awareness, is far beyond merely beneficial. The point is that in the process of doing whatever it is you’ve committed to, the fighting it, resisting it, whining, arguing, complaining—whatever you’re indulging while doing the practice—is how you get to see everything that is between you and whatever it is you want for your life; everything that stands between you and life itself because all of that resistance is egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate, the only thing keeping you from the life you know is possible for you.
Through keeping this one commitment—to talk to and listen to the unconditionally loving, wise compassionate guidance of your authentic nature—you will learn how to keep a commitment to whatever you choose. I am suggesting to you that the ultimate commitment is to live life, not egocentric karmic conditioning, and that’s what this process will allow you to do.
This is how you train yourself in practicing keeping commitments. In this discipline you learn to physically execute what you authentically commit to. This is how you get out of the world of karmic conditioning. You have to do the process because the outcome is inherent in the process. You don’t do the process to end suffering; by doing the process you end suffering—the outcome is the process.
I will love to read (in 50 words or fewer) what happens as you consider this.