Practice is the search for a point of contact. A point of contact between wisdom and compassion; between action and still; between the heart and the mind; between this moment and the next. This is the point that gets us through the pressure-cooker of this life. I constantly repeat to myself “All I need is a moment of silence or some small time to think and collect my thoughts.” But what I really need is that point of contact. Why am I even bothering with ‘collecting’ my thoughts?
I first met and fostered my point of contact during walking meditation. I continued to practice getting and finding that point so that it can be accessed it later, when needed, in all the noise and turmoil. Bitch of it is that the point can become internalized and available but only after some time and perseverence – it doesn’t appear through magic but through sweat.
I don’t think this comes about solely through meditation or any technique; it arises for me when we balance our skeptical, thinking mind with our compassionate mind. It provides the template to understand the precepts without clinging to them. To understand and monitor mental and physical actions without being a slave to them. It allows us to access the self rather than let it run free and wild.
When I hear other practitioners describe their practice, it seems that this is what they are describing – It matters little if they wish to chant the nembutsu, praise the Bodhisattva of Compassion, sit zazen, pray or practice the tantras. It is all of the same substance. It is just defined and categorized differently. What matters the most is what I we bring to the practice and not how the practice defines us. When we focus on the intent and intensity rather than on the categories we focus on the point of contact between ourselves and those around us.
That way, when we look for that point while swimming in the pressure-cooker, you simply realize that we are not the only ones cooking.