Everything is practice

A Buddhist friend of mine a few days ago said, ‘keep sitting’. This is because I have sprained my foot, so have not been to dojo for a few weeks.

This has prevented me from sitting – even on a chair although I can manage 30 minutes meditation sitting on a chair just about now.

But I wondered about her comment. “Just sit” is good advice, and a reminder that we must always return to practice. As Dogen says, practice and awakening are one and the same thing. 

It’s easy to think, though, that this means practice only happens when sitting on the meditation cushion. But it doesn’t. Perhaps this is why she made the remark.

Unless I am also sitting within my mind, letting body and mind fall away, when I am washing dishes or checking emails too, then I have put sitting on the meditation cushion above everything else, making it the special place in the week or day or self where awakening can take place. 

In mindfulness, there is not a person who is being mindful. Who is it who is doing the mindfulness? In spiritual practice, there is not practice separated from life. Kinhin separated from zazen. Washing up separated from study of a sutra. All of it can be practice. No special time to be awake. Every special time. 

Why limit practice to 30 minutes or 60 minutes a day or week? Why limit it to the meditation cushion? That is not what should be meant by “just sit”. 

Just sit is also what I should do within my being the next time someone wants an argument, or the next time I sprain my foot.