Paris – Katya Klimova. Photo © Wayne Tippetts
The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.
mental slavery is the worst kind of oppression
when you to think you’re a margin, when you think you have no power, when you think you’re losing,
recognize these as WHAT-IF’S
because the reality is that you are WHOLE
you are complete
YOU ARE POWER ITSELF MANIFESTED AS HUMAN
don’t let modern society kill your Soul
life-is-go0d asked: Hi :) I was just wondering if your can give any advice on how to turn studying into a spiritual activity. I find that in my life I seperate my 'spiritual life' from my 'study life' in the sense that I will try to get my uni work done early so I can spend time reading/watching spiritual quotes/videos etc, which makes me feel at peace. I am currently writing a long essay and I feel that I need to constantly take breaks and go on websites like yours because I feel stressed and pressured. Thankyou!
I can relate to this inclination, it was something that troubled me when I first began my studies in the fall.
Here’s a helpful Alan Watts quote to keep in mind: “Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”
Like you, I find a lot of joy and peace in the Dharma. But it is important not to get attached to the medicine and forget to actually heal.
There is a time to learn and there is a time to put that learning into practice. Writing a long essay, for example, is just such a time to practice.
Firstly, notice that you are trying to escape. But there is nothing to escape. You’re just sitting at your desk (or whatever) and writing your essay. So take this opportunity to discover the real meaning of surrender and acceptance.
Do what life is asking of you, and be faithful to that responsibility. Then you are already free of it before you even finish.
Secondly, anything becomes a spiritual activity when it is not undertaken from the perspective of an ego. The ego has preferences, spiritual activity is transcendent of preference.
For example, suppose you were studying under the Buddha and he told you to go write this essay. Would it be a problem? Even if it were the most boring essay possible, perhaps on tax law, it would still be a spiritual undertaking because you were doing it for Buddha, not for yourself. You wouldn’t be caught up in trying to escape the essay nor would you falsely believe that finishing the essay will bring you happiness.
You just do it as an offering to the Divine. And so you are already free of it.
Where there is preference, there is ego. The ego is just yourself known unclearly. Become aware of the subtle way your preferences and rejection of this homework responsibility is a form of aggression toward the present moment.
Sometimes it is easier to accept a outright challenging present moment than it is to accept a dull, boring, annoying, or joyless present moment. Perhaps it is because the outright challenge stares you in the face whereas the dull or annoying present moment is more sneaky and comes at you below the radar.
In the end, there is no separation between study life and spiritual life. Spiritual life is not defined by or limited to the feelings you have while reading the words of the Dharma or watching youtube videos of teachers.
Those are good things. They teach us how to face stress and pressure. But then it’s up to us to actually do just that!
It is certainly acceptable to take a break from your work and sit for a brief meditation or go for a mindful walk, but the idea is to return to your work with more rootedness. Whereas if you are reading or watching something, you are going to try to keep that stuff in mind while you are working and then the mind simply becomes overcrowded.
Empty yourself and do your work. Then let it go. That is very, very spiritual.
"Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.”
~ Lao Tzu
Thankyou, I find this very helpful:)