Sunday, June 7, 2015

Wholehearted: On Training Without Bias


The next slogan might be designed specifically for me:
Train without bias in all areas. It is crucial always to do this pervasively and wholeheartedly.
The translation is essentially the same: "Train on every object without preference. Training must be broad and deep." And the brief explanation held no surprises:
"Mind training must embrace every aspect of your life. Whatever you ignore or overlook will consume you."
That sounds a bit ominous, so I turned to the Tricycle Magazine piece about this slogan that was written by Judy Lief. This part hit home for me:
"Being without bias means that there are no excuses. You do not declare any areas off limits, but you relate to your life as a single whole, a back and forth rhythm of meditation and postmeditation. When you are without bias, instead of waiting for the right occasion, you apply lojong on the spot, no matter what is going on at the time. In that way your lojong practice becomes more than a hobby or accessory - it is a way of life."
I used to that do that - I thought of my time reading Buddhist writers and writing this blog and the time I spend in meditation as "Buddhism Time." It could have had a trademark symbol it was so much a part of the way I approached lojong and mind training. But then somewhere along the line I realized that wasn't helping me any. I started trying to see the opportunities, started to see the whole of my life that way. (This thinking brought to mind goofy pie chart jokes, and the one I put up there is the one that made me laugh hardest.)

Then the best thing started to happen: I am sometimes able to bring mindfulness and wholeheartedness into my daily life. I recently spent a while with someone I've known for a long time, and something happened that would normally have blown up into an argument - one of our greatest hits, as it were. But instead of letting it get beyond me, I took a moment and breathed and put myself in the other person's place. And instead of fighting, it blew over immediately.

Lief's advice should be good for me, too:
"The best way to develop a more wholehearted lojong practice is by 1) spending time practicing mindfulness and tonglen, and 2) memorizing some or all of the slogans. For today's practice, focus on one or two slogans that particularly strikes you. Touch on those slogans from time to time, and notice when they come up on their own."
So, that's what I'll be working on. Until next time, namaste and all that.

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