Good morning! Welcome to the DKos Sangha weekly open thread.
This is an open thread for members of the DKos Sangha and others who are interested in discussions concerning how we integrate our progressive political activism into our spiritual practice. If you have observations about the political discourse of the week, or about practice, or about anything else related to walking a spiritual path through the political world, if you wish to share, or if you seek support, or if you simply want to say hello, please do; this space is for you.
If you would like to write a diary for the DKos Sangha, please let me know.
If you care nothing for spiritual practice and only wish to denigrate and disparage, please do so elsewhere, and respect that this is a community diary for the DKos Sangha.
In Buddhism, there is a teaching that goes something like this: this is true, not this is true, both this and not this are true, neither this nor not this are true. And somewhere along the way, I think it was from Advaita Vedanta, I came across the valuable teaching that you must strive with all effort towards awakening and you must let go of all effort, at the same time.
Mind, when in service to ego's desire for control, wants to understand intellectually; there is a desire for some answer that it can cling to, a set of concrete instructions. Mind's ability to understand intellectually is of great value if you want to build a house or cook food or find your way across town to a friend's place. But it can't get you all the way to awakening because awakened consciousness is undefinable and limitless. Thoughts arise within this space of awareness; thus, the unlimited awareness can not be contained within thought.
The teaching of transcendence of opposites, as in the examples above of this and not this, and of striving with all effort while letting go of all effort, help to get us out of the confines of mind. A similar tool within the tradition of Rinzai Zen is koan practice, where the teacher gives the student a seemingly nonsensical phrase to answer. The student then sits with this phrase until the "answer" arises, not from intellectually figuring it out, but from moving beyond the limitations of mind and opening into awareness.
It can be useful to consider that getting beyond mind, getting beyond ego's desire for control, takes a willingness to surrender completely to the unknown, the unknowable; to fall into the vastness without any attempt to hold onto something.
When you are sitting in silence, when thoughts have stilled, you may notice a "movement", a "falling", and you may also notice a felt resistance to this movement. This is where it can be helpful to have a willingness to fully surrender.
Ego's desire to control your reality, to construct a narrative within which you can hold onto some description of the world that helps make sense of the seemingly senseless way our fellow human beings act, can be a useful tool when we are young, when we are growing up in a world where the adults and other children act in ways that are often confusing, contradictory, hurtful and harmful. But it is just that, a constructed narrative, a mere description of the world. And this self-constructed narrative that ego constantly tells throughout the day causes us all kinds of problems, all kinds of stress, anger, dissatisfaction. It causes us problems because it is a story about our experience, it isn't the actual experience in the moment; and the story is colored by desires and fears and attachments and aversions. The story separates us from our actual experience. The problems arise because we've substituted a story about the world for the actual world.
To awaken from this substituted story, to awaken into experiencing the world as it is, it can be helpful to have a willingness to let go of the narrative, to experience the world as it is without the stories that ego would tell us about our experience; a willingness to just be present with what is, to fully experience life as it is.
And meditation can be a useful part of the process of awakening.
As your meditation practice deepens, as you move further into the stillness, whenever you feel resistance - surrender. Open further, dive deeper. Fall all the way through.
You are welcome to join us each week in our Monday night group meditation here at DKos Sangha. This online group meditation is hosted by Ooooh, and the diary is posted at 7:00 Eastern. So that we are able to be together for as many here at Daily Kos as wish to participate, the meditation period runs from 7:30 to 10:00 Eastern. This group sitting is open to beginners and advanced, and is not restricted to any particular traditions or practices. It is not expected that you sit for the entire period; sit for as long as you like, when you like. The idea is that we are here together; supporting each other, holding space for each other.
Enjoy your day!