In the presentation part of the warming-up webinar Dosho quoted Dogen-zenji on the benefits of practicing in a community:
Although the color of the flowers is beautiful, they do not bloom of themselves; they need the spring breeze to open. The conditions of the Way are also like this; although the Way is complete in everyone, the realization of the Way depends upon collective conditions. Although individuals may be clever, the practice of the Way is done by means of collective power. Therefore, now you should make your minds as one, set your aspiration in one direction and study thoroughly, seek and inquire.
We cannot bloom by ourselves and to become transformed we need to be exposed to all kinds of weather conditions, get proper nourishment and be tested.
Later the same evening it was time for the second call with the Integral Enlightenment teleclass. This time we were invited to try for size nothing less than the perspective of the Evolutionary Impulse (IE) and from that larger place look at our lives and the specific areas where we were struggling. What was possible from thar larger perspective, no matter how frightening it might seem to the smaller, personal self?
When we were sharing in small groups what came up to us as a response to questions, I felt that very spring breeze that Dogen writes about, go through my living room and my heart. Our brief but full-hearted exchanges expanded my own understanding of what was possible for me and fuelled the internal fire when I was listening to the responses of others. At times I experienced it as one response voiced differently.
For the coming week we were offered the following questions to reflect on and explore on the daily basis how we could approach our lives from that larger perspective:
- What does the Evolutionary Impulse need from me?
- What are the values of the Evolutionary Impulse and how, if at all, do they differ from the values of the personal self?
- How can I stretch to more fully embody this Impulse?
- How does aligning with the Evolutionary Impulse impact my experience of myself?
- How does it impact my relationship to Life?
- How does it impact my behavior toward others?
- What does it reveal about my and our potential for radical evolution?
Having carried the questions around for three days and just listening to the responses that showed up, I noticed that my mind was getting seduced by the “How can I stretch …” question which was more on the doing side. It is the most familiar mode: identifying the problem (existance of the ego) and suggesting the solution (get rid of it NOW!). My mind loves tinkering with whatever shows up on the horizon and prescribing solutions. Who is talking? Yet another self-image: me, myself and Irene, the bettered – the ego-less – version. Ego-less who?