Who Are You, and What Are You?

What Is Your Real Purpose in Life?

Take What You Want, Take What You Need

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The practice of Zen meditation is self-administered and self-regulating. There’s nobody telling you what to do. You might increase your practice—or maybe even neglect it for a while—depending on what’s happening in your life. There is no guilt associated with how much or how little you practice. You just take what you need.

I’ve noticed that many of my church-going friends need a certain amount of regulation. They need to be told what they should do. And they even appear to need to feel guilty when they don’t do it. I imagine carrying the guilt for a while makes them feel even better when they finally do get to church. That’s okay with me. I accept what they need, and I certainly have no interest in trying to change them.

My purpose in life, as was given to me, is to give others who ask for it what I was given. I like that. I like that I was not instructed to go forth and be a disciple to save the world. Or any kind of religious nonsense. I don’t have to be a missionary. I don’t have to recruit people into a belief system. For years now, all I’ve done in fulfillment of my challenge is write this blog and publish a few books. Once in a while somebody shows up and wants some coaching with their meditation. No problem.

If a Zen practitioner’s life gets tough, he or she will increase the length and number of meditations. And when things are going smoothly, a practitioner is likely to slack off a bit, maybe just to enjoy life a bit more. After all, Zen encourages a moderate amount of responsible hedonism. Interestingly, some practitioners develop their own need to meditate daily. That’s okay; take as much as you want.

Now, aren’t you glad you don’t have to come here once a week and listen to me preach?

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

January 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm

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