Someone recently asked the group I run, “How does love inform your practice?”
When I first started my practice, I was looking for a way to be in life, to find harmony in life. I felt like I had a lot of love to give people and to offer the world, but I could not get there. Like my internal world was too chaotic, too cloudy to be able to deeply love. Love life, love others..
When I started, it was love that got me interested. I went to Tahoma monastery and my whole body lit up. I was not sure what to do with it. I felt that the head monk could viscerally understand my situation, was someone who could bring love and joy and compassion and clarity to each situation, and to see people and offer something, really something to them. I left soon after but some seed had been planted.
When I met the Roshi, the love he showed me for many years was what got me to the monastery and what kept me there. People think Zen is cold, but my expereince was the complete opposite.
Through the training, I gradually and then very suddenly broke through the mesh of my own internal chaos. Once I found my own connection to this truth, to God or source or Grace, then I was not so needy, I did not need love anymore. I did not need it anymore ever again from anyone. It was like I was then embraced by a love I could never have imagined. And then I was able to really receive love, and to give love in normal ways as well.
The byproduct of giving in to kensho was this love shining through. Love for all things. Love for reality. It’s like we see that we are just love. And something sharable. Something I could offer to others. No longer was I such a slave to myself, but a channel to share this with others. After Kensho, the practice was not about me anymore, but about helping others. This is something more than the vow to save all beings. It was something like a cellular switch.
Now, fifteen years later, integrating all of this, I’m a goofy dad and husband. I am integrating and embodying this stuff in my own way more with each year. I’m not perfect, no way. The practice keeps that channel open. It keeps the signal coming through. It is a clear physical way for me to work with and interact with my stuck places, be that physical or emotional or all of the above, and I am constantly taught by them and reality how to yield, how to push.
Being a dad and husband, I am constantly shown where I could do better, and how I’ve got to show up. My blind sides are shown to me as I am constantly corrected. In that way, being a husband and papa has ripened me in ways I never would have in ther monastery. I think it makes me a better teacher being humbled constantly by my beautiful family, seeing unmistakable and unpredictable miracles. And it’s hard, too!
One could say that the Qi is love. Tanden is love. We are surrendering to love. Relaxing into love. Filled up by love.
I am so grateful to the practices for giving me a venue to explore, to share, to love. I’m still working on it. But it’s really always been about love and relating and people and loving life. In a way, the practice gives me the ability to love. To love universally and what this energy field here called Corey is, and also to be a good person, father, and husband in the practical aspect. So this is LOVE work. IMHO.