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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

On Intimacy with Life

A note from Carl:

Good Morning!

This morning on the cushion, I was reflecting on the response of two great modern Buddhist teachers to the question of: “What is the essence of meditation?”

The Tibetan teacher, Chogyam Trunpa Rinpoche responded: “Intimacy. Meditation is the practice of intimacy.”

When Suzuki Roshi, on the of the early Zen teachers in America, was asked a similar question, he paused, and then responded: “Everything changes.”

Intimacy
and
everything changes.

I want to pause and take that in for a moment.

There is a lot there…

How can we have intimacy with life and this world where everything, everything changes?

I find the word “intimacy” to be a very helpful guide in life.

It implies being connected, but not fused.

Being in and being with.

Whether it is with another person, a thought, an inner state, a news story, a particular situation in life- a question I ask myself is: How can I be touched, be affected without checking out and disconnecting, or falling in and becoming overwhelmed?

I am reminded of the poem by William Blake:

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

I wonder how it would be to replace the word “joy” with just about any positive, negative, or neutral experience we might have in life?

Kissing it as it flies feels to me like intimacy with life. This always changing life.

Wishing you intimacy with your life, just as it is in this moment.

-Carl

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