This week we will begin the sixth of the seven sections for mind training – Disciplines of Mind Training. This section is on various ways to create or be disciplined around practice. There are 15 slogans in this section so sometimes we will be exploring them in groups. As an overview, this section is about how we are off the cushion and that means how we are with people. I think that is why Norman Fisher calls this section The Discipline of Relationship. (Side Note: I was looking over my last post and may have given the impression that discipline of relationship had to do solely with evaluating or assessing our practice. But what I was trying to say is that our discipline around relationships also help us with a more accurate evaluation or assessment of our practices).
I think Norman Fisher’s language around each slogan in this section is much easier to connect with so I will use his. The first slogan is Come Back To Basics. The basics are (1) remember your intention to practice and do no harm, (2) refrain from outrageous actions and (3) develop patience (or as Norman says “don’t be one-sided). In every situation in life, every moment and every experience, we can always access our practice by remembering these three simply and easy to access guidepost. I am constantly quizzing myself around whether I am causing harm; to myself or another. I just softly ask myself throughout the day – will “this” cause harm? Second, I try to temper my over-reacting so I don’t get too exuberant nor too despaired. Finally, the lawyer in me is always open to the other side; which doesn’t mean I agree with it, just that I can see that there could be another way to look at something. This helps me not get stuck in my opinion.
This is also my basic framework for living with other people. It represents my outer boundaries. I have been living within this framework for many years and because of it I can see the deeper development of my practice. My discipline to these guidelines is why I am confident about practice. My confidence doesn’t come from a comparison to others so I don’t need to try to be like other practitioners. It comes from an internal understanding of what I value; what I think is important or the right way to live.
This week we’ll explore what these three basic principles mean in your life. Do you have basic boundaries that you can easily access? Can you see the difference between using the boundaries as a compass to help you see when you have veered off the path and a hammer to force you back in line? In your own life, are your boundaries a compass or a hammer?