In association with hhdlstudycirclemontreal.org

Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
InnerNet Weekly: Inspirations from ServiceSpace.org
Inclining Toward Freedom, Even Through Imperfections
by Larry Yang

[Listen to Audio!]

2420.jpgIf we focus only on awakening, we miss most of the spiritual practice. I’m much more interested in how we practice with not awakening, with not being enlightened, because, frankly, those states of being are more present in my life than not.

Lately, as I strive to promote diversity and anti-racism both inside and outside of dharma communities, I’m finding new depths of disappointment and disillusionment at the limitations of my own capacities, at the imperfections of our communities, and at the harm occurring in our larger culture. We don’t live in an enlightened world—have you noticed? As a dharma teacher, I was trained to teach the insights and kindnesses that I have felt. However, these days I feel propelled to teach from where I am—to be real and authentic in the moment, in the midst of places where I do not have answers, and from the limitations of my own flaws. […]

We must dig deep into our practice in order to navigate the extremes of despair and disillusionment. We must listen to what is underneath it all, to where freedom is calling from, by asking: Can I open to this? Can I turn toward this? Or in the inadequate language with which we must communicate, can I love this too? Can we incline toward the despair and imperfections of this life with the same diligence we give other objects of mindfulness? Can we practice presence when life feels impossible?

It may seem counterintuitive, but when we practice awareness and offer kindness to the uncooked, imperfect aspects of our lives, we actually strengthen our mindfulness. We don’t need to attach to either awakening or non-awakening; neither is anything more than an experience to hold with tender awareness.

Awakening and not awakening are two sides of the same coin. They are the same experience. We can’t experience awakening without experiencing not awakening. We can’t experience insight without becoming intimately familiar with our conditioned patterns. […]

Thus, even in my imperfections, even in my failures, I can still incline my heart toward freedom. This is how I see the paths of awakening and non-awakening interweaving. This is freedom in the midst of suffering. This is resilience despite the forces of violence and oppression. We can create beautiful lives right where the world is not yet awake.

Each time we practice awareness and kindness, we transform not only our personal world but the world itself. We begin to be able to hold the unholdable, to connect the broken heart and the raging mind. We look for the precious wisdom embedded within that bitter rage, and as soon as we begin to look, we are no longer consumed by the rage itself. We turn toward the direct experience of despair and weave it into care, love, and, dare we say, freedom. This is the magnitude of our spiritual practice. It asks us to include all the contradictions and paradoxes of awakening and not awakening and everything in between. It is the in-between—the range from extreme to subtle, the spectrum connecting opposing forces—that constitutes the totality of our lives, our practice, and our freedom.

About the Author: From full article here. Larry Yang is a Spirit Rock teacher and is a core teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center (Oakland) and Insight Community of the Desert (Palm Springs); his book is Awakening Together.

Share the Wisdom:
Email Twitter FaceBook
Latest Community Insights New!
Inclining Toward Freedom, Even Through Imperfections
What does inclining your heart toward freedom in the midst of suffering mean to you? Can you share a personal story of a time you were able to experience insight by becoming intimately familiar with your conditioned patterns? What helps you treat awakening and non-awakening as two sides of the same coin?
Jagdish P Dave wrote: The two words thatstand out from Larry Yang’s passage are Freedom and Imperfactions. We all want to be free from suffering, from our limitations created by conditioning of our mind. It is a a jour…
David Doane wrote: Inclining your heart toward freedom means to me to act with integrity. It’s not doing out of obligation, it’s not doing to impress, it’s not manipulation or bargaining, it’s action tru…
Share/Read Your Reflections
Awakin Circles:
Many years ago, a couple friends got together to sit in silence for an hour, and share personal aha-moments. That birthed this newsletter, and rippled out as Awakin Circles in 80+ living rooms around the globe. To join in Santa Clara this week, RSVP online.

RSVP For Wednesday

Some Good News

Notice the Rage. Notice the Silence.
7 Ways Protestors Showed Up For Black Lives
30 Articles on Nonviolent Protest

Video of the Week

Educate the Heart

Kindness Stories

Global call with Ariel Burger & Cleary Vaughan-Lee!
488.jpgJoin us for a conference call this Saturday, with a global group of ServiceSpace friends and our insightful guest speaker. Join the Forest Call >>

About
Back in 1997, one person started sending this simple “meditation reminder” to a few friends. Soon after, “Wednesdays” started, ServiceSpace blossomed, and the humble experiments of service took a life of its own. If you’d like to start an Awakin gathering in your area, we’d be happy to help you get started.

Forward to a Friend

Awakin Weekly delivers weekly inspiration to its 94,229 subscribers. We never spam or host any advertising. And you can unsubscribe anytime, within seconds.

On our website, you can view 17+ year archive of these readings. For broader context, visit our umbrella organization: ServiceSpace.org.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: