Caregiving, compassion, and the spirituality of addiction

The Buddhist path in its entirety is a discipline of sobriety, a discipline which demands the courage and honesty to take a long, hard, utterly sober look at the sobering truths about existence.–Bhikkhu Bodhi

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Chop, carry

Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. – Zen saying

Several days ago, a tornado stormed through my little town and in about 10 minutes or so dumped torrential rains and brought down countless trees. Among them was a yellowwood which was unwisely planted just below our telephone and electric line 10 years ago. A few weeks ago we had woken up to a large branch from said tree leaning against the house, so it wasn’t surprising that the rest of it had had it when the storm came.

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Opening to uncertainty and walking the path

Learning to balance internal and external, retreat and daily life, contemplative and engaged practice is difficult. It takes diligence and effort, and it usually means tilting to one side of the scale for a while, then over-adjusting, then trying to come back to equilibrium. I left my job and career a year ago next week, and I still don’t know what’s next. Only that this practice is whatever it is, and that is life itself. It took a lot to disengage from all that security and I’m not keen on jumping right back in. The word I tend to use to describe to people what it is that I’m doing is, to just let things unfold.

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What we are meant to do

Like it or not, I have a brain for operations. I get in there, figure out what’s wrong, analyze the problems, get to the heart of them and make things more efficient. I use technology to help solve business problems. I have no passion for any of this, it’s just what I do well. In fact, I studied religion in undergrad and then proceeded to do a master’s in environmental policy. How’d that land me here exactly? So, the question is do I quit it? Well, I already did, but here’s a little back story.

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