Q & A: How Can I Best Do This Practice?

Michael McAlister Blog 2 Comments

Question: How does one go about dedicating their life to this practice? I’m 25 and don’t have many responsibilities, so I have more flexibility and time to give to it.

Answer: It’s like that old Nike slogan: just do it. There are ways of going about “doing the non-doing” but in the most basic terms, one must fearlessly commit himself to “doing” the path so that the path can, ahem, “do” him. Once this fiery resolve is born within, the next opening to address is how. With this in mind, I have one bit of advice: go methodically, with care. This doesn’t mean for you to be timid. Instead it means for you to be aware of your steps since desperation nearly always defiles and derails the process. Loosen up while at the same time let the light of your fire show you where you are clinging. Study the clinging with complete curiosity and fearlessness, over and over and over. This is what allows for us to ascend… even as we descend. Weird, but language gets in the way at times. A word of caution… don’t turn your search into another attachment. Time and again I see people that give up everything to start anew and they burn out after a relatively short time. Your path is wherever you are. Travel won’t necessarily bring you any closer to your own experience. It might, but it’s usually a romantic distraction that serves to only minimally enhance the process of awakening. The real work is right in front of you, right in this moment. Is there a felt sense of openness and space in your experience right now? If not then there is clinging. Look there and begin the search for a guide that can keep pointing you in the right direction.

Comments 2

  1. Kristinq

    Hi Michael,
    This question caught my attention. And I agree 100% with your reply. The question I have is, as a ‘western’ practitioner, do you have any suggestions for groups to meditate with in my area? I live in Seattle, WA, and though there are many established groups here, I feel a disconnect with some of the rituals and cultures which ‘flavor’ each particular type. It is and odd feeling, because I do find the concepts very inspiring and worthwile. And the tradtional art/aesthetics are really wonderful.
    I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way- are there any slightly ‘non-denominational’ groups you know of in the NW? Any suggestions or advice are kindly accepted.
    Regards,
    Kristin

    1. Michael McAlister

      Kristin,
      Thanks for the note.
      Unfortunately, I’m not intimately aware of any “non-denominational” groups in your area. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. As you may have recognized, there is growth in this arena so keep your ears open.
      Having said this, I still often recommend that checking preferences at the door for a good while can truly deepen your practice. Sometimes it even deepens your practice enough for you to be able to see beyond the ritual and other, shall we say, annoyances. The most important thing is finding a teacher that can responsibly, and relentlessly, keep the heat turned up. Check a few of them out. Also look very carefully at their most senior students. Do you like what you see? Is there a deep resonance?
      Keep me posted.
      Bows and good luck,
      M

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