My wife and my daughter are my finest teachers. In my daily life and mundane activities they teach me patience and I gently pull myself together everytime I go stray.
Jack Kornfield’s After the ecstasy – the laundry is a tremendous read on the mundane aspects of life as zen practices.
From podcasts to audiobooks in no particular order I thank Zencast, Audiodharma, Tara Brachs, Gil Fronsdal, Steve Maraboli, Tami Simons – Sounds True, Oprah Winfrey, Dr Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, The Dalai Lama … among the many others whom I have heard and yes talks from Jon Kabat-zinn on mindfulness, Ken Wilbur, Diane Musho Hamilton, Kenpo Roshi … for helping me fumble my way around my ignorance.
The day I slept through the soothing talk by some monk was the best day in as far as listening to audiobooks are concerned. It must have been the energy passed through the ear set … so peaceful and truthful that affected my clarity the next day I woke up. I thought I still had my corrective glasses on!
Dr Wayne Dyer’s a spiritual solution to every problem and Deepak Chopra’s Ageless body, timeless mind are truly amazing. At the time of writing, I have finished reading Swami Rama’s “Living with the Himalayan Masters” – truly transformational stuff. Really you must read them yourself.
Andrew Cohen’s Embracing Heaven and Earth talks about an impersonal enlightenment. Most true indeed. Imagine giving your salvation away. That is truly selfless and noble. Osho shocked the hell out of me in his books, Awareness, Intimacy, Meaning of life … etc. Now this man is a true revolutionary, he will shock you and show you how to heal yourself. Read his stuff – highly recommended.
I was writing a blog on this and somehow it all got cleared – sigh … must be another teacher sent by some invisible force. If you talk to any zen monks, they would be reluctant to tell you their past unless it helps other in a way or another. Another lesson for me.
I must not forget the dear Echart Tolle’s Stillness speaks available on audiobooks from the library and a new Earth. Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self Realization and the yoga of Jesus are 2 good reads. These masters of Advaita or non-duality (just google non-duality) sings the songs and dance the dance of the One whole. Beautiful, spontaneous and truly here and now.
Stop the fixation on yourself. Realize that focusing on others and helping others is helping yourself. It is the best therapy available. Other first – you … you will be helped by helping others.
The quickest way to realize this is through active meditative state in day to day living through our chores, work and mundane little tasks of our lives. The most irritating patron is the best teacher. The most impatient boss is the best trainer out there. It’s all attitude.
Of course, inner strength and inner harmony has to be developed first. I develop it through the silence of quality time alone, through meditation and bringing that state of meditativeness while I’m awake, step by step, moment by moment particularly when I mowing the lawn, washing the dishes, pausing a moment when my daughter throws her trantrum, when my wife pisses me off, when my last break gets screwed up at work, when my pit boss yells at me … and the list goes on …
It only starts with a single breath and is as easy as taking that extra time to blink consciously to bring mindfulness, wakefulness to the work place, to home to my quiet life alone. Watchfulness, in the public and private. Watching and catching myself before any destructive emotions arise … in every moment and gently reminding myself in every situation.
I often wonder why I still do what I do for a living. There is a saying in zen. Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. Maybe I am just a signpost warning others “wrong way – go back!”