After listening to some of my “Living Tao” (活道) podcasts recently, somebody asked me the question of being a Living Tao is a form of mindfulness?
My answer, of all things, was that I did not know.
While I still consciously practice mindfulness through Chazen (茶禪) and a slow sword form I have developed using a katana, mindfulness in Australia has over the last few years degenerated into the losers’ table filled with people who have ‘issues’. It’s a bit like the third infusion of black tea; it doesn’t matter how long you let it steep for, it will never have any life left in it.
Most people who truly practice a form of mindfulness, dread the coming of Mindfulness May. That cheesy month created by commercial interests in which everybody goes down the we-all-love-each-other spiritual path, so that those same commercial interests can turn a buck on the spiritually inclined.
To overcome this month, a lot of spiritual people will pull sickies and go on a much needed retreat, where they can reconnect with themselves, the cosmos, nature and other like-minded people.
For people like me, on the other hand, Mindfulness May becomes the season in which we test our beliefs and assumptions by becoming the go to person for those trying to ‘get’ the spiritual thing. And it is all about speaking Jesus to Christians, Krishna to Hindus and Mohammed to Muslims. Peppered with the odd Buddha here and there to Buddhists.
So I guess being a “Living Tao” (活道) is a kind of spiritual teacher. In Chinese that would be a Jingshen (精神). Mindfulness is just one aspect of the spiritual path.
But what of the people who don’t care for spirituality?
After helping one too many people during Mindfulness May, I ended up telling everyone (who came to see me with their problems) to wash their dishes. For you see, most people sitting at the losers’ table, their problems are the dramas filling their heads. Those bullshit dramas are like dirty dishes. Dishes are dirty in the sink collecting flies. When you wash the dishes, the dishes are clean. Clean dishes don’t attract flies. Clean dishes are kosher.
So if you want the Holy Ghost to sit at your table, make sure your dishes are kosher. Kapeesh?!
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