Advertisement

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Metaphor Monday :: Plow Your Own Field

A recent Tricycle Daily Dharma (click here to receive these daily emails with brief excerpts of writing from Tricycle Magazine) the great Thai teacher Ajahn Chah gave the metaphor of plowing your own field. 

When people genuinely meet the dharma, they realize it directly within themselves. So the Buddha said that he is merely the one who shows the way. In teaching us, he is not accomplishing the way for us. It is not so easy as that. It’s like someone who sells us a plow to till the fields. He isn’t going to do the plowing for us. We have to do that ourselves. Don’t wait for the salesman to do it. Once he’s made the sale, he takes the money and splits. That’s his part.That’s how it is in practice. The Buddha shows the way. He’s not the one who does it for us. Don’t expect the salesman to till your field. If we understand the path in this way, it’s a little more comfortable for us, and we will do it ourselves. Then there will be fruition.

We are a culture of convenience. Look at all the inventions designed to make our lives easier. In spiritual circles we can succumb to the same mentality. Instant enlightenment. Instant transformation. There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands of self-help gurus (myself included) who promise transformation.

AKwbuddhaatmet-thumb-350x262-14316.jpg

And as Ajahn Chah reminds, no one can do the work for you. Not even the Buddha. I’m reminded of the Buddha’s admonition, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” Beware of teacher’s promising instant transformation. Change is hard and requires long effort. Real change requires a fundamental restructuring of our concepts — the deep frames and metaphors that shape how we see ourselves and the world.

I have found that meditation practice is a reliable way to do this restructuring. We deconstruct our concepts and stories when we sit and familiarize ourselves with unfolding phenomenological reality that lives furtively beneath the stories. We can reconstruct ourselves in a way that is more free. 
The Buddha’s wisdom and emphasis on mindfulness can be the plow that allows us to do this work.

Previous Posts

Handling Rejection
I was recently interviewed by Brianna Steinhilber of EverUp for a piece on dealing with rejection. You can read her very thoughtful story ...

posted 6:03:05pm Feb. 09, 2016 | read full post »

Accessibility and the Precious
I had an interesting dream image last night. I was observing a fantastic display of the aurora borealis--Northern lights (or it might have ...

posted 9:14:31am Jan. 31, 2016 | read full post »

2016 Well Underway: Resolutions, Intentions, and Projects
We are well into 2016 and I've been taking something of a hiatus from social media and this blog. I've been reflecting a lot on my life and resolutions, intentions, and projects for 2016 and beyond. I'm not a big fan of resolutions. Like ...

posted 2:33:29pm Jan. 24, 2016 | read full post »

2015: The Year in Review
Greetings everyone! It's been a busy 2015 and I'd like to share with you some of the highlights and give you links to the some of the contents I produced over this year. There is lot's more to come in 2016 and I appreciate everyone's support. I ...

posted 7:53:24am Dec. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Bodhi Day 2015
In honor of Bodhi Day, I wrote a reflection on the Seven Factors of Awakening, which are based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. You can read about these on the main Beliefnet site. I hope this contemplation on awakening helps to move you ...

posted 9:41:04am Dec. 09, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.