by Nick Andrea
This morning I was awoken by a prancing puppy, bright eyed and bushy tailed and rearing to go. He needed a long walk, so that was the first thing I did. I was grumbling to myself along the way. Normally my mornings are spent meditating, something I do neurotically. As we were walking I was feeling incomplete without it, thinking, “I need my meditation practice (to feel peace).”
However, it dawned on me that peace is what I do but what I am. If I relegate it to the moments I’m sitting still with a straight back then I would miss this moment with my dog. I would miss the beauty of this gentle rain falling all around me, coating the trees and flowers with a nourishing glaze, and washing the dust off so as to reveal their true colors. What is not divine about that?
I have long lived under the illusion that in order to be enlightened I would have to do some crazy, esoteric spiritual practice, because somehow those moments would be more sacred than the others. Many like me have shunned the dogmas or traditional religions. We have gone to things like tantra, yoga, or internal alchemy, traditions claim to be “spiritually scientific” and prescribe a set of practices and forms that are somehow more effective than those of mainstream religion. Such was the case when Trungpa Rinpoche, a well known Tibetan Buddhist teacher, said, “Tantra is the only way to enlightenment.”
But it’s a lie. We have taken one limited form and replaced it with another. We have remained in the realm of doing – damned or saved by somehow adhering to the correct form. This is fundamentally no different than the medieval Christian notion of going to Heaven or Hell based on being an adherent to the correct path.
Experience, however, tells a different story. Mine says that trying to gain peace based on adhering to the right form leads to hell. This is the realm of doing. I have to do the right thing or I’m screwed.
Trying to gain peace based in the realm of being, however, leads to Heaven. The realm of being is not limited to a specific form. It is not limited to sitting meditation, chanting the name of God, or practicing tantra yoga. The realm of being is right now.It is found in whatever you are doing in this moment. You are reading these words. Are you present? Being present 100% is the goal. Then, peace is walking the dog, it’s cooking dinner, it’s taking a shower, it’s making love to your partner. It is also sitting still with the back straight, it’s doing yoga, it’s chanting mantras. It really doesn’t matter as long as it’s now.
No moment, no activity is holier than the next.
Whoever said walking your dog,
Or raising your children
Would not get you enlightenment
Was a big fat liar.