Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink.
We will have ups and downs in life – sometimes feeling on top of the world, other times feeling crushed by its weight. But this is it, this is our life. Although this may seem like a daunting realization, it is a realization nonetheless, and it is one that can bring us to peace. Once we deeply understand that we will lose everything, we realize that we’ve got nothing to lose and that nothing can be grasped onto.
The Enlightenment was the prelude to modern times, and boldly challenged religious establishments. Beginning in the 17th century, the Enlightenment philosophers abandoned piety and proclaimed the supremacy of Reason.
Descartes and Spinoza, Hobbes and Leibniz changed the rules of intellectual discourse. The dialogue was now secular. Appeals to the Bible and to Church doctrine gave way to Truth, which stood on the pillars of intuition and evidence.
Nirvana is the calming and the extinction of the afflictions and obstacles of the knowable. Nirvana is sometimes called the truth of extinction and cessation. Extinction is the absence or calming of suffering — it is peace and freedom.
Our practice is our own selves. It’s not some thing, some formula that you can learn from a book and do it. It’s not a form of calisthenics.
Practice is the act of placing our awareness on what is occurring in this moment the best we can. It is the attention to this moment. It is the act of being as honest as we can in noticing what is really going on with us in the moment, noticing that we may not like what’s going on, and noticing our thoughts and impulses about what we would prefer to be going on.
Practice is experiencing what all of this is in our body, our being, and resting in that. Practice is doing this over and over, many many times, until it just wears out.
We are the joy, love, and compassion of this moment, regardless of what it may look like on the outside.