drwex (drwex) wrote,

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On the origins of change in life

I have for about the last ten years been trying to practice what we generally now call "mindfulness". Being more aware of things, myself, surroundings. Some of this was prompted by a routine I started when trying to deal with my own persistent low-level depression - I made a habit of trying to inventory, honestly, my feelings. In the morning and in the evening I would ask myself, "Am I happy? Have I been happy today?" It turned out that the answer was 'yes' more often than I would remember when I reflected back later. But anyway, I'm in the process of digging through old files and archiving stuff I no longer use. And I came across the text below, dated Jan 20, 2004.

I saved it because it spoke to me so clearly. I remember that I used to put it up on my computer screen every day and reread it. Now I'd like to put it on yours, to do with as you wish.
[I]t is easy to get fed up with daily routine. You do the same thing, day after day, until finally you don't know what the purpose of human life is. Human life just based on daily routine seems like a huge trap. We don't want to look at this, so we don't pay attention to daily routine. We get up in the morning and have breakfast, but we don't pay attention to breakfast. Quickly and carelessly, we drink our coffee and go to work.

But if you don't pay attention, you will eat breakfast recklessly, you will go to work recklessly, you will drive recklessly, and you will go to sleep recklessly. Finally you will be fed up with your daily routine. This is human suffering, and it fills everyday life.

The important point is that we can neither escape everyday life nor ignore it. We have to live by means of realizing the original nature of the self right in the middle of the daily routine, without destroying daily routine, and without attaching to it. When it is time to get up, just get up. Even though you don't like it, just get up. Getting up will free you from the fact that you have to get up.

Even though you don't like your life, just live. Even though death will come sooner or later, just live. The truth of life is just to live.

Dainin Katagiri, from You Have To Say Something. Katagiri (1928-1990) was the first abbot of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center.

I had forgotten that I even owned that book and have long ago lost track of who I loaned it to. I hope it helped them, too.
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