Sunday, May 31, 2015

Got My Thinking Cat On: On Keeping the Three Inseparable

Last week was a bit of a challenge since I've been out of my normal patterns - took some "use it or lose it" time off from work and did a bit of traveling. Yesterday and today have been back to typical, and there's some comfort in that even though I've enjoyed myself during my time off.

Anyway, onto the new tenet:
Keep the three inseparable., my usual first stop, was pretty helpful this time. Their translation, "Engage all three faculties," actually confused me a bit. However, their explanation made things really clear:
"Engage all three faculties in your practice. Physically, move and sit in attention, aware of your body and behavior. In speech, be aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it. In mind, cultivate attention and taking and ending all the time."
I felt calmer after reading that - I usually feel a little stress as I encounter and deal with new aspects of Lojong. I turned to Tricycle next, and Judy Lief gave me the missing piece: how to apply this to my life. She talks about how these three, body and mind and speech, need to work together. One part in particular fel like someone had conked me over the head with a cricket bat...
"When you practice wholeheartedly, it shows in your thinking patterns. Part of lojong training ha to do with simply noticing how your mind works. What do you do with your mind? What do you think about most often? By applying lojong to your mind, you can begin to reverse the habits of preoccupation and self-absorption that take up so much mental energy. As a result, your mind becomes less tight. It begins to relax and turn outward."
Ouch. Every time I think I've got a handle on this, I realize I've still got so far to go. This is an example: there are two or three things that take up probably 90% of my mental energy. Yes, I do struggle with anxiety issues, so it makes sense. Even still, this is yet another way I can work on the problem.

She goes onto give more specific advice for applying this teaching:
"When you think about your lojong practice, does it seem balanced and wholehearted or one-sided and limited? What helps you come into harmony in your body, speech, and mind and what tends to make you lose that feeling of harmony?"
I will have my thinking cat on, tracking what pushes me out and what brings me back into harmony.

So, that's what I'll be working on. Until next time, namaste and all that.

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