Worry and fear can
alter our perceptions until we lose all sense of reality, twisting neutral
situations into nightmares.
Because most worry focuses on the future, if we can learn to stay in the
present, living one day or one moment at a time, we take positive steps towards
warding off the effects of fear.
For me, learning to guard my mind from worrying about the
future and learning to trust in a greater reality is one of my main, on-going,
steadfast practices. It is the
basis of my spiritual stability.
It is a freedom to be able to let go of my thoughts and bring my mind
back to the activities of this moment.
I practice this in zazen but it is also the practice that permeates my
days. It is a simple practice and
hard to do.
When I was on pilgrimage a decade ago and in distress, one
of the teachers I visited said, “Put your full focus on your practice and let
the rest, all the problems, take care of themselves”. When I find myself in a hard situation, I go back to this
instruction. I return myself to
this moment and take refuge in total
We can take refuge in total
dynamic working. What we know
or see with our discursive minds is only a very partial picture of what is
happening. This partial picture is
only seen through our own vantage point, our own eyes and self. This is the ground of worrying. We don’t see all the invisible
connections and inter-being of all the parts. The more we trust in interconnection, the more we can
let go. Do our best in the moment
and then let go. Make the
decisions of the moment and trust in the universal perspective.
In my teaching life, I’ve noticed that one of the hardest
things for people is to trust. What are we trusting? I think this is connected to the refuges;
trusting in buddha, dharma and sangha.
Katagiri-roshi often said that the world is working in peace and
harmony. Underneath all the human-made troubles and predicaments, the natural world is working harmoniously. There are even mathematical equations
for the harmonious functioning of the world. Through our practice we can connect with the larger sense of
harmony and order in the world and trust it. This harmony includes birth and death. In facing and dealing with our fear of
death, we calm down the source of our greatest worry.
Labels: fear, guarding the mind, present moment, refuges, total dynamic functioning, trust, worry