We are what we do, and what I do is practice the Dharma, which is not a ritual practice of repeating rituals and scriptures, shoring up a belief system, no, Dharma practice is the practice of Seeing the truth in your immediate everyday mind and life. Dharma practice is the practice of awakening Awareness that doesn’t rest on beliefs. This awareness is creative because it doesn’t rest on the past, what you have learned, or what is known. Creativity is a dynamic relationship with. your life, whatever it is doing, being a hunter, housewife, father, banker, secreter…whatever you are doing is your Dharma, your creative place in this moment.
One is either in a creative relationship with your life or a reactive relationship, one where you wish you were someplace else in time, being home with your feet up instead of in traffic. Dharma practice says: Here is am in Traffic. I can’t be anyplace else then this. Isn’t this interesting. Then the traffic becomes a metaphor for insight and awakening of your Dharma. Like the TV character MacGyver, you use everything for your practice.
I have always been thankful for a specific teaching by Alan Watts when he unapologetically said that he was a Spiritual Entertainer. He did what he was without failing Buddha’s third temptation. When the Buddha awakened he was tempted by Mara (his own mind) by three tests; desire, fear, and doubt. My be failure has always be self doubt. Mara said to the Buddha: Who do you think you are. By what authority to you claim to be who you are. Do you have credentials? Have you been ordained? Do you have a degree? Have you written a book?….the Buddha simply point to the earth beneath seating position, from which he didn’t move. And the tree showered him in flowers, which is equivalent to the audience applauding you for an authentic performance.
Being who you are in authenticity. So I have always doubted who I am…but the point of this talk is that we are not a thing, a noun, the name of a person, place, or thing, or even a role. So, ironically, my self-doubt was that I doubted that I’m nothing. I wanted to be something, and when we want to be something that means something special, something unique that distinguishes be from…..nothing. You see the trap, the perfect trap?
To be creative in the moment, to respond to the moment creatively means that you are holding no position, no definition of yourself, no idea of yourself as something, because if you are an ice cube that has a shape, you can’t melt with the moment, and being creative is melting with the moment and creating a new moment that gets you our of a conflict with change. Life is change. Flowing with change means that we don’t get trapped in some identity, because a thing when it meets change resists change, because change melts its thingness.
Dharma Trail is a lifelong trail. There is no end to it. Awakening is not an arrival at some state. Life is not a state. But you see in our materialistic map, life is not conscious. Life is a bunch of things bumping into each other like blind men, or bumper cars at a carnival. When you are in the bumper car you are not aware of the whole ring of cars, as you would be standing on the edge watching it. How silly, you would say. What’s the point. The point of life is to become conscious, to become life aware of itself, not as a thing, and not as a thing that thinks….no….I AM Life! That is the Buddha Lion’s roar.
Joseph Campbell talks about the Call to Adventure; this is the Dharma Trail. Once you start you can’t put the genii back in the bottle. You can’t put awareness back to sleep. You never know what or where you Dharma Trail will appear to you. A chance meeting. A chance book. A tragedy. Severe grief. A dream. Listening to a teaching. Some loss. The Dharma Trail appears mysteriously in everyone life, hopefully in yours, without any logical reason. You can find no cause for it. There is no answer to Why Me? Just as there is no answer to Why Me when some tragedy befalls you. Dharma questions who you are. Why Me? …..who is Me?
Most Dharma Trails start with an upset in expectations on how your life should go. It’s bad when it happens, but in retrospect you are thankful. Oh Happy Fault!