Years ago, I attended a Hollow Bones Mondo Zen Teacher Training retreat to learn how to facilitate the Mondo Zen koan process.
Like many pivotal moments in my life, I felt a tension during the retreat around one of the koans. The type of tension where a deep part of me knows the truth, but a protective part of me resists accepting the truth. Once, I feel that tension, I know I’m headed towards freedom, but it’s a difficult ride to let go of that resistance.
The koan goes, What must you do to bring this realization forth right now and at any time in your daily life?
Dear reader, what do you think the answer is?
What’s the vital first step to bringing one’s insights and realizations into daily life starting right now?
Another way to frame this is what’s the first step to starting any change? What’s the first step to recovery? What’s the first step to really practicing a true life?
The answer is rather simple but not easy to practice.
Remember & Choose.
You must choose to live this realization. You must choose to change. You must choose to surrender. you must choose to awaken. And before you can choose, you have to remember your choice, your freedom, your insight.
Many times, people go to the meditation cushion, the gym, or their work expecting change to happen to them one day. But, change is a deliberate process. Meditation is a moment by moment practice just like life.
Remember your freedom to choose to engage in living or stay apart in isolation.
Choose the life you are meant to live. Better to actually choose and find out from direct experience than to just think about it for the rest of your life. More and more, I aim to find out the truth. I would rather die young having found out than to have lived long without ever truly living.
I wrote this pseudo poem on Facebook yesterday as I was facing difficult emotions within myself and just wanted to disengage and run away from the world. I edited it slightly for today.
Remember & Choose.
Remember this original spirit.
Choose to live from spirit.
Remember to remember.
Remember in this moment there is a choice.
Choose to commit to remembering.
Forgive yourself for forgetting.
Forgive yourself for making mistakes.
Remember to choose anew.
Die into the uncertainty.
Choose to let go.
Remember to choose a life beyond comfort & security.
Remember you can ask for a hug.
Choose to ask for that hug.
Remember connection is already possible.
Choose to realize that connection.