DAY, DECEMBER 18, 2009

Prologue: The Compassion Project

We cannot deny that we often live our lives as some very complicated series of moments strung together by memories, used to define where we were and where we came from, balanced by hopes and fantasy for having a better future. Families struggle with job loss and health concerns, bills accumulate; the holiday season manufactures increased weight upon our already burdened shoulders.
Man, it can get you down!
Perhaps you are unaffected by the economic downturn and give little concern to paying your mortgage or making your car payment. Your health is good and the political push for a new healthcare system or the "War on Terrorism" concerns you about as much as the weather in Bangladesh.
I think that we can agree that we are seldom the proverbial "hot knifes through butter" when it comes to sliding smoothly through the everyday issues that confront us.
Our problems vary as much as our political opinions. But the way in which we most often choose to respond to life's difficulties inevitably places an emphasis on enjoyable memories balanced with future hope and expectations. To quote Watts, "With these assured, (memories and expectations) he can put up with an extremely miserable present. Without this assurance, he can be extremely miserable in the midst of immediate physical pleasure."
We focus on the Machiavellian affairs back at the office while we are at home on holiday. We worry and concern ourselves with that which has not yet happened, or may not happen, ever! How often do we keep company with a pleasant memory because our troubling present appears to harsh to face? Perhaps our present is filled with regret over what once was; robbing us of any ability to enjoy what is; right now.
Anyone that has read my blog posts from the past five years knows that I have tried to cope with loss - and anger. Lots of anger. (cleverly hidden?:>) Anddisappointment; Disappointment that runs deep.
Attempting to grasp the brass ring of varying levels of coping and adjustment is like trying to catch a blowing wind in a bottle; or like trying to wrap eight pounds of water in gift paper. You are left increasingly frustrated, if not all wet in the process.
I'm reminded of someone that I once hired to work in Quality Control, performing tests and adjustments to materials before shipment to our customers. The simple mathematical equations and formulations were deemed too difficult a task for him. We really liked him and wanted him to succeed so we tutored him endlessly.
One day we asked him rather hopefully, "Dave. What's 10% of 100?" With a scrunched up face he labored intensely trying to give us the correct answer."One hundred and one?" he replied.
Sometimes all the thinking in the world will not liberate from our ignorance!

And this is what I have been leading up to..............

In my twenty plus years of practice, perhaps labeled, (if I must) has been a blend of Taoism and Zen. I can attest that the effortless way that proved to be the most beneficial followed the simple practice of two types of meditation. One taken from the Taoist tradition and one from the Buddhist tradition.
Meditation at its best should be free from expectation. It should not be result oriented. But that is not to say that there are no rewards for those that "just do it." Upon reflection I have come to realize that it was when I was committed to either one form of these meditations or upon both, something mystical happened.
And this is my jumping off point. I hoping that you will join me in beginning a meditation practice utilizing either one or both of these forms of meditation. I am hoping that you will chronicle and share with me your experience.
Its just that simple.

In the next few weeks I will be publishing several links to aid you in beginning one or both of these forms of meditation. The energy that results from this type of meditation practice radiates from you outward.

"The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands,
and then work outward from there."
Robert M. Pirsig

"Leap and the net will appear!