And so it was posed to me, a question to ponder from Rowan, our local dharma teacher, “How will I know when I’m enough?” Hmmm….
Tomorrow we’re having an OI (Order of Interbeing) training day with this question as our potential topic. Rowan said that it will either be his longest dharma talk or his shortest, to which we both laughed. He asked that I think about this question and offer him any insight that I may happen to come up with. He also instructed me not to think about it too much.
There are some questions, well, many questions really, that the intellect loves to ask and the heart is slow to understand. There are many questions that cannot be properly answered in words. The intellect, which of course is a wonderful tool, can also serve as a barrier. There are some things to which the intellect will never be able to help with. Some things can only be truly understood and appreciated with the heart through practice.
In regards to the question above I would counter: Enough of what? While I know what enough is referring to on some basic, generalized level I think it’s an important place to start. I imagine sitting down with a fellow practitioner and having them ask me this question. I would want more information. Enough of what?
There are certain fruits of the practice that develop over time. They are referred to as fruits because while there is diligent effort that goes into the growing of a tree once the tree is well established the fruit that grows on its branches are inevitable. When we diligently practice the three foundations of mindfulness: sitting meditation, walking meditation, and conscious breathing it is like growing a fruit tree. With consistent nurturing the foundation of our practice will grow and strengthen and over time fruits will begin to manifest, with seemingly little effort. Fruits, such as: equanimity, the wisdom of adaptation, impermanence, compassion, gratitude, joy, acceptance, non-duality, interbeing, and non-self.
So the next question that might follow Enough of what? could be: How is your practice? If we are stuck asking intellectually bound questions that only our own heart can answer we need to return to our foundational practices. There is no short cut around sitting and walking meditation and mindful breathing. We need to do the practice. Just as a fruit tree needs to be properly cared for in order to bear delicious fruit our practice needs to be cultivated for it to be of benefit. The answers will follow.
“Each of you is perfect the way you are … and you can use a little improvement.” – Shunryu Suzuki