Your Life is Your Practice

"The awakened mind has two attributes. 
One is compassion, what some would call love.
The other is clarity, what some would call sight.
They are not really two things. 
Each is a function of the other.
When you see, really see, you just love.
When you love, really love, you just see.
You see things as they are, not as you expect,
and in that wide open space is love."
~ Karen Maezen Miller

In the book "Paradise in Plain Sight," the author, Karen Miller, dedicates nearly two decades of her life to restoring a Zen garden to its former glory. This is no small feat. Along the way, she also seeks out a Zen teacher because she deems that her life is lost.

"Your life is your practice."

This is the message he entrusts her with.

How simple is this? How pure? How unique? And yet how challenging?

"Your life is your practice."

Your life is the medium and the message. 

Your life is the vehicle for the manifestation and the embodiment of love.

Your life is the WAY...

We spend our lives telling ourselves stories - of what we think our lives and past were - or what they may have been. But Miller indicates that we must let go of them, and tame and forgive those voices that allow a cacophony of mistaken notions to take up residence in our beings and seemingly lost souls.

Let go, and forgive yourself...

"We forgive ourselves because we can. And we forget because we must, or we condemn ourselves to a life of pain...

Forget what might have been and what might yet be. The past is gone and the future will arrive on schedule.

Forget what you thought. Forget what you felt. Today is the tonic for yesterday. Now is the only cure for then. Forget, and you will know genuine gratitude. Gratitude is the fruit of letting go..."

Ah! Gratitude is the fruit of letting go.

Along the way, Miller also imbibes a very valuable lesson as she experiences the unconditional love and kindness of her teacher. She writes:

"His kindness was the most profound kindness of seeing a person or thing completely, without judgment. I learned two things by this: it is rare to be seen and that seeing without judging is an act of love."

As I marinate and reflect on these passages and the wisdom in this short little book, I am left with these insights and teachings: 


My life is my practice. 
My life is where I must embody love. 
If I am to truly know love 
and see things as they are - 
I must practice gratitude. 
And, I must forgive myself,
and others
for every conceived failing 
or condemn myself to a life of pain.

I finish the book, and turn off the light, and wonder, what lessons could be more important that these?




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