In a conversation recently with a longtime practitioner I heard a marvelous practice tale that went a little something like this:
“For years I’ve believed that if I were the good/right Zen student I would know what following Life’s guidance means. I just would. But I didn’t, and because of that a huge opening was maintained for egocentric karmic conditioning and especially self-hate to frame my experience of life. At a recent retreat someone talked about doing the self-guided retreat in the back of I Don’t Want To, I Don’t Feel Like it. Specifically, they were speaking about the exercise with the magnet and the iron needle. I decided to do those exercises, starting with the first and making my way to the end. Maybe I was secretly hoping for a miracle. Anyway, I’ve loved each of the assignments, but it was the second one that turned on all the lights. What self-hate had done was to turn everything that sparked my interest into a problem. Too hard, too much money, take too long, won’t be good at it, silly, etc. Over time I learned to experience the spark of resonance to Life as something to feel bad about and dread. Now I get it that what lights me up is the experience of Life’s guidance—and it’s something we can feel. It’s an actual quiver! And I’m practicing not letting ego-I reframe that quiver into something to feel bad about.”
That is one lit-up human being. I was so inspired by the story that I’ve decided to do the retreat myself. (Writing the exercises and doing the exercises are two very different things.) I wanted to pass the story along to you in case you want to join us.