Monday, July 12, 2010

Present with pain

In Zen there is a focus on the moment, on being totally present and at one with whatever you are doing. In his book, Son of Man, Andrew Harvey writes,

Never imagine as your take the journey into me that there is any pain or bewilderment that you could suffer that I have not also suffered, sometimes even more dreadfully and completely than you can comprehend. So you never have to hide your heart and its terrors and pains from me, for I know them all, grieve for them all, cradle them all, am here beside and around you as you suffer them: I am in you always to call on for wisdom, clarity, revelation inspiration, the strength to weep and the strength to go on. Don’t you understand yet? I am the divine in the human and the human in the divine

In Zen one practices being present while sitting, walking, and bowing. It is also practiced in the arts and in the martial arts. But this passage refers to a more difficult level of practice – to be present and one with your pain, your misgivings, and your failures. This is very difficult to do and can be dangerous as a misstep can lead to depression and despair - there is a reason we distract ourselves from problems, losses, failures, and all of the other things that hurt us. Tich Naht Han recommends being present with these feelings, holding them without judgment.  This passage is about the same thing, but it is done through faith and identification with Jesus. By understanding that God, in the person of Jesus, has experienced failure, loss and betrayal, it is easier to do this. From a Zen point of view, the moment is always an expression of the divine, no matter what it is filled with. From a mystical Christian perspective, you are one with Jesus when you accept your suffering in the moment.

Son of Man: The Mystical Path to ChristThe Miracle of MindfulnessSavor: Mindful Eating, Mindful LifePeace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

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