Vigilance in Spiritual Practice

How do we establish a new way of interacting with our lives when we have become so entrenched in our usual way of seeing things? Vigilance and practice, practice, practice!

It is extremely possible to establish a way of life that is conducive to being spiritual, mindful, and compassionate in our daily lives. However, this requires vigilance. We must make spirituality, mindfulness, and compassion our priorities so that we are not otherwise distracted by everything that samsara throws at us. This world of form can be extremely distracting and getting sucked in to the mundane level of consciousness is all too easy. Thankfully, like our body, our minds are pliable and we can exercise and strengthen them in order to meet everyday situations that arise with equanimity. However, like exercising and strengthening the body, this does require vigilance and dedication to practice. We are always at practice. Our entire lives are our practice of going deeper and deeper into being and vigilance is the guideline that keeps us directed on that path.

How do we establish a new way of interacting with our lives when we have become so entrenched in our usual way of seeing things? We can begin by taking incremental steps and increase these steps throughout time. Take a day to experience nature. Begin meditating 15–20 minutes a day. Go one day a week “unplugged,” without your computer, cell phone, or tv. Find things that provide you with a feeling of connection and expansiveness, begin implementing them in your life and build from there. Soon, you will see your life improving, and you may be tempted to stop practicing because life has improved so much. Change is a constant in life and, at the risk of sounding negative, our situation always changes. Practice when everything is going well helps to prepare us for when that situation will inevitably change.

We need to practice regularly so that we can begin to see the ultimate, non-dual, spacious nature of reality which will then free of from the tyranny of an unenlightened mind. We are constantly waiting for happiness. We are always expecting to get it from somewhere else. We will experience it in some point in the future. One more self help book will solve our problems. Another workshop. One more retreat. There seems to be an unconscious part of us that doesn’t believe that we are worthy of happiness and fulfillment right now. But what would happen if we were? What would happen if we finally knew that we were always already whole and complete as we are and we don’t have to wait any longer? What would it feel like to experience contentment and equanimity as it is here, now, sitting within our being? At some point in time we have to give up our illusions and delusions. Why not now?

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